When you think of convention food, it’s safe to say that a fine-dining-quality meal is not what comes to mind. And rightfully so. Imagine catering a large event with hundreds of attendees to serve. Sure, the food may be fitting but certainly not memorable or even remotely impressive.
Well, it’s time to change the perception of convention center food. Enter Chef Nick Walker, the culinary genius at Cobb Galleria Centre who’s raising the bar on convention center fare by re-imagining dishes with 5-star renditions inspired by his Georgia roots.
And luckily for me, I was invited back to Chef Nick’s kitchen for an exclusive Chef’s Table event. Sitting amongst other Atlanta-area influencers, I waited patiently for my palate to be endlessly surprised—I can always count on Chef Nick to introduce me to new flavors and pairings, two things I was immensely looking forward to this time around.
Craft-y Brews & Fine Food
This year’s Chef’s Table was a flavor-packed 6-course meal paired with beers from Monday Night Brewing. I never really thought you could pair brews with food, but Chef Nick definitely proved it’s possible to make an amazing meal even better with the perfect pairing. Who knew!
The first course was an Amuse Bouche: a tasty ginger crab fritter (you guys know how much I love seafood) topped with an unexpected but delicious spicy banana puree. The beer paired with this course was a Belgian Style Wit called Fu Manbrew… Lol, such a punny name!
Second in the lineup was a Duck and Blood Orange Salad, a mix of frisée, spent grain cracker, and fennel, topped with a blood orange vinaigrette. Take a guess at what the beer pairing was… O.K. I’ll tell you! It was none other than a Blood Orange IPA named Blind Pirate. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! 😉 (I’ll show myself out…) 😀
Since I love seafood so much, I got super excited when I saw the third course on the menu: a fish stew. The Serrano Eye Patch Bouillabaisse featured monkfish, clams, snapper, and fresh rock shrimp, seasoned wonderfully with pineapple, saffron, and serrano aioli. The matching beer, of course, was Monday Night Brewing’s Serrano Eye Patch Ale (an Indian Pale Ale).
The fourth course a was sweet palate cleanser of sorts, switching gears to a Borsch Pear Sorbet with dried lemon and a honey kissed pear, washed down with the Gun Show, a Belgian-Style Golden Ale.
Challenging flavor profiles yet again, Chef Nick served up some amazing Vanilla Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks—a dish that makes you feel like a high-profile food critic. Completing this plate were trumpets, Carolina rice grits, heirloom carrot, wilted greens, and cocoa. This dish was certainly a funky Southern twist on the traditional Japanese beef, and I loved every bite of it! We had a Scotch Ale called Drafty Kilt with this one.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end… And when our final dish eventually arrived, I was not disappointed! My sweet tooth had a treat with the Hazelnut Cigar featuring smoked dark chocolate, malted sweet cream, caramel, and hazelnut powder. YUM. And the beer pairing couldn’t have been more perfect: the Toasted Hazelnut Imperial Stout.
I was beyond satisfied with this generous and innovative 6-course meal prepared by Chef Nick and his team. I absolutely love getting to experience freshly imagined flavors and learn how to better pair alcohols with meals. It’s truly the 5-star treatment! I want to send the most sincere thanks to Chef Nick and Cobb Galleria Centre for making my belly happy as well as a thank you to the Atlanta Food & Lifestyle Bloggers Society for the invite.
That is my kind of restaurant! The food you have pictured here all looks amazing.
Now this would be my jam, what a way to enjoy delicious meals! Looks like you guys had a blast.
The crab fritter with the spicy banana puree looks so delicious! All of the food looks scrumptious and the plating of the food is perfect. Yum!
That is just so cool how the food went along with the beer flavor! That dessert is hilarious and I’ll bet it was tasty!
Now this sounds like the most perfect place to grab a bite to eat! The food looks delicious, especially the Vanilla Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks that sounds so intriguing.
This chef’s event sounds like one for the books, I love the idea of pairing beer and food. I just read another article earlier about this new pairing of beer and food instead of the usual wine pairings.
This is my kind of event! The food is beautiful and the beers aren’t so bad themselves. I love the stoli desert. Genius!
This sounds like an awesome chef’s event. That duck and blood orange salad with frisée sounds so good! It all looks tasty though.
The foods look so good! I love Bouillabaisse or any seafood dishes!
First of all, the food looks amazing! But there really isn’t anything more fun than sitting at a chef’s table – for a foodie like me at least!
Monday Night Brewing sounds like a great place to dine. These foods all look delicious. I don’t like shell fish so I would love to try the Vanilla Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks which sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience.
That crab fritter looks great. We might have to drive on over there for date night!
Oh my goodness, I would enjoy this restaurant. The Vanilla Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks looks absolutely amazing, as do all of the selections.