NEW YORK, June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- American culinary history will be recognized at the James Beard House in New York City on June 21, 2016 at 7 PM. In collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, a diverse and award-winning group of U.S. chefs, beverage experts and historians will come together in culinary homage to James Hemings, America's first Chef de Cuisine. http://www.jamesbeard.org/events/hamilton-jefferson-hemings
The menu will be a modern reinterpretation of the multi-course, technologically challenging "The Room Where it Happened" dinner held on June 20, 1790. Some featured menu selections include: Applewood-Smoked Foie Gras, Gulf Coast Blue Crab Beignet, Stuffed Capon Breast, and Bouef a la Mode.
Participating chefs include: James Beard award-winner John Besh, Tiffany Derry, Darryl Harmon, Dana Herbert, Therese Nelson, and Hemings Foundation founder, Ashbell McElveen. Heather Johnston is the wine director. Food historian and founding member Tonya Hopkins will provide context to the dining experience.
Diners will be greeted at the townhouse door with a historic whiff of aromatic artistry from The Institute of Art and Olfaction.
Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming for the James Beard Foundation, says: "We're thrilled to partner with the James Hemings Foundation. The "Room Where it Happened" dinner is beautifully aligned with our mission to celebrate, nurture and honor our diverse culinary heritage through programs that both educate and inspire. We're confident that the dinner led by chef Ashbell McElveen, JBF award winning chef John Besh, and the entire talented team, will be not only be a provocative and sensational meal but an enduring part of our legacy."
LiveStream subscribers can tune into the JBF Kitchen Cam on the night of June 21st to watch all the action unfold in the kitchen.
Questlove, bandleader of The Roots, food book author and co-producer of the soundtrack album for the Broadway musical "Hamiltion" says, "I love James Hemings' story. More than that, I feel connected to it, in part because it helps me understand the long history of diversity in the food space in America. This dinner celebrates his important legacy."
About the "Room Where it Happened" Dinner
On June 20, 1790, Thomas Jefferson arranged a lavish dinner at his house on 57 Maiden Lane in New York City in hope of forging an agreement with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison on the fate of the young nation. The kitchen was helmed by America's first Chef de Cuisine, James Hemings. A slave-valet to Jefferson, Hemings underwent a rigorous apprenticeship at the top kitchen in 18th century France, Chateau Chantilly. One could reason that the dinner's positive outcome was due in great part to the palate pleasing artistry of James Hemings.
South Carolina-born chef and TV food personality Ashbell McElveen recently explained to the New York Times why he formed the James Hemings Foundation. "I founded the James Hemings Foundation to celebrate not only Hemings but also the thousands of blacks who were linchpins in creating American cooking. I am proudest of James Hemings, who in 1801 refused Jefferson's summons to be the first White House chef unless he was written a letter like any free man. 215 years later, that letter is long overdue."
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SOURCE James Hemings Foundation