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Eat like the stars: Sundance chefs offer recipes for your own parties

Published: Wednesday, July 1 2015 3:33 p.m. MDT

Chef Beau MacMillan, right, with the help of Sean Currid, prepares grits for the Chefdance dinner during the Sundance Film Festival.     (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News) Chef Beau MacMillan, right, with the help of Sean Currid, prepares grits for the Chefdance dinner during the Sundance Film Festival. (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News)

Just because you can't dine with the so-called "A-list" doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of the food at home.

The Deseret News asked a few chefs cooking some of these ritzy dinners during the Sundance Film Festival to share recipes.

It's true that you might not have the same cooking skills as Beau MacMillan or Kerry Simon — after all, both defeated the Food Network's "Iron Chefs" on TV.

And you might not have all the quality ingredients that chef Matt Harris works with at the luxurious St. Regis Deer Crest Resort. And keep in mind that chefs cook on a large scale, so amounts had to be scaled down to come up with a home-cook friendly recipe.

Lastly, you'll have to wash your own pots and pans.

But on the flip side, you won't have to brave the Sundance crowds or blizzard-like weather. Put on a few sequins and satin and your best red-carpet smile.

Chef Beau MacMillan, center, seasons crab meat for the Chefdance dinner in Park City.     (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News) Chef Beau MacMillan, center, seasons crab meat for the Chefdance dinner in Park City. (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News)

Appetizer

For an appetizer, try your hand at the Gulf Shrimp and Smoked Bacon appetizer served at the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort's debut gala on Jan. 20.

These savory bites were served along with black truffle fontina pizza, fork-tender Certified Angus beef, creamy wild mushroom risotto, local artisan cheeses from Rockhill Creamery and Beehive Cheese, to name just a few items.

Both the shrimp and pizza are served every day at the J&G Grill, owned by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. You don't need to be a celebrity to eat at the restaurant.

Also you can buy a hunk of Beehive Cheese or Rockhill Creamery's artisan cheeses at Whole Foods Market. At around $19-$20 per pound, you'll probably want to think small, however.

Crab meat is prepared for a salad course at the Chefdance dinner during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News) Crab meat is prepared for a salad course at the Chefdance dinner during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. (T.J. Kirkpatrick, Deseret News)

While the hotel's gala wasn't an official Sundance event, it was timed to coincide with the film festival.

"I think the glamour of the St. Regis is certainly notable in Park City, and this is the perfect week to show the national and international visitors what's new in Park City," said spokeswoman Alexandra Hynes.

After riding the tram-like funicular to the hotel, about 200 guests fanned out to see the different areas of the property and rub shoulders with CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz, who was the master of ceremonies.

The hotel's confidentiality clauses prevent Harris and Hynes from sharing the names of celebrity guests and private parties at the hotel during the festival. "But I know there will be some impressive people," Harris said. "This is a first for me, to be here for Sundance. I'm pretty excited; you hear it all over the world, and I like the vibe that's coming."

Short ribs, cooked by Beau MacMillan Saturday night at Chefdance.  (Valerie Phillips, Deseret News) Short ribs, cooked by Beau MacMillan Saturday night at Chefdance. (Valerie Phillips, Deseret News)

Chef de cuisine Matt Harris said one of the tips for his appetizer is to use wild, Gulf-caught shrimp, which are more plump and meaty than imported, farm-raised shrimp, he said.

Soup

For the soup course, try the turkey chili that was part of Kerry Simon's meal for Chefdance, a series of invitation-only dinners served in the downstairs of Harry O's on Park City's Main Street.

This is the seventh year of Chefdance, one of the traditions that has evolved around the film festival. A different high-profile chef is brought in to cook each night. The result is an exclusive meal for about 250 of the entertainment industry's movers, shakers, friends and a few tag-alongs (like this Deseret News food editor).

Chefdance is the brainchild of Harry O's owners Kenny and Mimi Griswold. The eclectic guest mix over the years has included Britney Spears; actresses Sharon Stone and Jennifer Aniston; actors Woody Harrelson, Luke Wilson and Pierce Brosnan; and entertainers such as Sting; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Josh Groban and 50 Cent; and Microsoft owner Paul Allen; as well as Sundance founder Robert Redford.

Chef Kerry Simon, who owns restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.         (Kerry Simon) Chef Kerry Simon, who owns restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. (Kerry Simon)

"Sometimes you get all these well-known celebrities in one room, and the icebreaker is that the chef is the biggest celebrity there," Griswold said.

"People like Keanu Reeves, they can't say enough when the chef comes over to their table, they say that the dinner was remarkable, thank you very much."

The couple try to invite chefs who are well-known but also approachable and pleasant.

"This is the opposite of 'Hell's Kitchen.' We've all heard about chefs who are demanding and difficult."

Actor Bill Murray was among the dinner guests when Simon cooked Friday night. The chef owns Simon at Palms Place and Cathouse, both in Las Vegas, as well as Simon L.A.

This was Simon's third invitation to Chefdance, he said in a phone interview a few days beforehand.

Matt Harris is chef de cuisine at J&G Grill at the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort. (Valerie Phillips, Deseret News) Matt Harris is chef de cuisine at J&G Grill at the St. Regis Deer Crest Resort. (Valerie Phillips, Deseret News)

"I have a lot of friends involved with Sundance, and I like the feel of the evening," he said. "It brings a lot of people together who can just cool out and enjoy themselves. It's a good vibe, and while I'm working, I get to observe all of it taking place."

But it's also a challenge to navigate the traffic and snow, and obtaining particular ingredients.

"But I've figured out some of the difficult parts of it," said Simon. "I bring a lot of my own products; we're driving it up actually."

His menu included seared diver scallop with antebellum grits, apple Riesling reduction and crispy bacon; roast heritage turkey and white bean chili with organic white cheddar and roasted poblano corn bread; beet and burrata salad with clementines and wild arugula; parmesan gnocchi, braised buffalo short rib and porcini mushrooms in broth; and warm chocolate pudding cake with caramelized banana, and crispy toffee.

Kerry Simon's Turkey Chili, served at a dinner at Harry O's in Park City. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Kerry Simon's Turkey Chili, served at a dinner at Harry O's in Park City. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Entree

For your entree, choose short ribs. In the past couple of years, they've become a Sundance staple. They were served at a half-dozen posh dinners hosted by both Chefdance and the Bon Appetit Supper Club.

This year four of the five Sundance chefs chose short ribs as part of the meal. One of those was Beau MacMillan, chef at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, and one of the "boot camp" instructors on the Food Network's "Worst Cook in America."

As far as short ribs' trendiness, "They're a little played out now, but the beauty with a group of this size is that you can braise them ahead of time and they hold well. You don't have to worry about cooking something to temperature or having it dry out, and they're a crowd-pleaser."

MacMillan braised the ribs beforehand and shipped them to Park City. When he and his assistant chefs arrived in Park City, they were assisted by culinary students from the Art Institute of Salt Lake City and Utah Valley University. Also helping out was Michael Nook, executive chef for Nicholas Foods, which donates the food for the Chefdance dinner series.

This plate of bacon-wrapped shrimp is similar to those served at Friday night's St. Regis bash in Park City.       (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) This plate of bacon-wrapped shrimp is similar to those served at Friday night's St. Regis bash in Park City. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Adrian Grenier and other cast members from the HBO series "Entourage" were among the guests for MacMillan's dinner.

He made seared scallops with creamed Anson Mill grits, chorizo and tomato jam; chilled lump crab salad, passion fruit and avocado; braised short ribs with salsify fondue and garlic cherry glaze; and salted caramel panna cotta with caramel corn and chocolate peanuts.

MacMillan related some of his experiences on "Worst Cook" to the movie world.

"Just as actors have to rehearse lines, chefs have to rehearse recipes. I was shocked at how easily people give up on themselves, just because they made a dish one time and it was awful. Chefs fail and succeed every day in a kitchen environment."

Gulf Shrimp and Smoked Bacon with Passion Mustard

4 cups passion fruit puree (or pineapple juice)

1 green Thai chile, halved lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup honey

1 Thai green chile, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon dry mustard (such as Coleman's)

1/2 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt

12 large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails left on

12 thin slices lean bacon

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Thyme leaves to taste

1 Hass avocado, quartered and thinly sliced

1 passion fruit, halved and seeds scooped out (optional)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a small saucepan, boil the passion fruit juice with half of the green Thai chile until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, toast the cumin seeds over moderate heat until fragrant. Add the honey and remaining half of the green chile and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the honey.

In a bowl, blend the dry mustard with the 1/2 tablespoon of water; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the Dijon mustard. Whisk in the reduced passion fruit syrup into the mustard and season with salt.

Wrap each shrimp in a slice of bacon. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves to taste. Saute until bacon is crispy and shrimp is just cooked.

To serve: Fan the avocado slices on each plate and top with the shrimp. Spoon the mustard around the shrimp, then spoon the honey around the mustard. Drizzle the shrimp with olive oil, garnish with the passion fruit seeds and cilantro and serve.

Editor's note: The above recipe is how this appetizer is served at the J&G Grill. At the St. Regis gala, the wait staff passed trays to guests without the avocado and passion fruit seed presentation. So in the Deseret News test kitchen, we used the honey and mustard mixtures as a dip. We also recommend using pineapple juice if you're not able to find passion fruit or juice. — Matt Harris, chef, J&G Grill

Kerry Simon's Turkey Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup small diced mirepoix (equal parts diced onion, celery and carrots)

3 tablespoons peeled and roasted poblano chiles

3 tablespoons diced roasted tomatillos

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

4 cups cooked white beans in turkey broth

1 cup diced turkey

Heat the olive oil and saute the mirepoix and chiles. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and simmer 30 minutes. Garnish with corn bread and aged white cheddar cheese. Serves 4-6. — Kerry Simon, Simon L.A.

Short Ribs with Razz-Cherry Garlic Glaze

3 8-ounce short ribs

2 ounces onion, chopped

2 ounces celery, chopped

2 ounces carrot, chopped

4 cups red wine (or 3 parts red grape juice, 1 part red wine vinegar)

2 cups chicken stock

3 cloves garlic

2 sprigs thyme

1 teaspoon peppercorns

Salt and pepper to taste

Razz-cherry Garlic Glaze (see related recipe below)

Trim short ribs of excess sinew. Season with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. Heat a heavy bottom braising pan. Add olive oil.

Sear short ribs on all sides. Remove from pan.

Mix remaining ingredients and pour over short rubs, but do not completely submerge them.

Cover pan and place in oven at 320 degrees. Braise for 3 hours. Serve with Razz-Cherry Glaze. Serves 3.

Razz-Cherry Garlic Glaze

3/4 cup red wine (or 3 parts red grape juice, 1 part red wine vinegar)

1/2 cup grenadine

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 clove elephant garlic

1/4 cup razz cherries (raspberry infused dried cherries)

Combine the wine, grenadine, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Peel and slice the garlic as thinly as possible. Add the garlic and razz cherries to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook until the sauce is reduced and syrupy, about 15 minutes. — Adapted from Beau MacMillan, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

e-mail: vphillips@desnews.com

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