Bésame team to cook at New York City’s James Beard House in September
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In March, a Bésame server approached Executive Chef Joseph Campbell with a message: One of their guests was with the James Beard Foundation, and wanted to talk.
“I said, ‘No way, I don’t believe it,’” Campbell said.
The “Dean of American cookery,” James Beard was a cookbook writer, a television personality, a restauranteur, a consultant and a teacher. After his death, Beard’s New York City home was envisioned as a performance space for chefs — a chance for them to visit the city and a chance for their diners to fully, intentionally experience their food. The tradition of guest chefs began, and now, the James Beard House hosts about 200 events per year.
“It’s basically a dream come true to cook there,” Campbell said. “A lot of the best chefs of this country and the world have passed through that kitchen. I can’t imagine going out there and not being inspired.”
On Sept. 26, Campbell, Bésame co-owner Hannah Hopkins, general manager Natasha Krefft, sous chef Michael Mason and Bésame bartender Rena Day will prepare a five-course dinner and cocktail pairings. Campbell, Hopkins and Mason will be cooking, while Krefft and Day oversee front of the house for the dinner.
The event is capped at 80 guests and also includes an opportunity for the diners to meet the chefs and for a dialogue about the food.
“We’ll be bringing some of the flavors that we make at Bésame to showcase what we’re doing out here,” Campbell said.
“We’ll be mixing Colorado ingredients with Hudson Valley ingredients in a really cool combination,” Hopkins said. “It’s Latin fusion and hot global flavors.”
The final menu plan is still in the works, but attendees at the dinner can expect Campbell’s Feijoada, a Brazilian black bean stew, to make an appearance. Campbell will also be using an eight-inch damascus steel chef knife forged by 20-year-old Lucas Gumbiner, of Gumbiner Custom Knives in Steamboat Springs.
“I feel really honored that we can be part of bringing a piece of our world in Steamboat Springs to New York,” Hopkins said.
Reservations to the New York City event are $170 per seat for James Beard members and $220 per seat for the public.
For Hopkins, the appointment is full circle. She grew up on the East Coast and began her culinary career in New York. She credits the full team and teamwork at Besame with this success.
“It’s a huge honor for Bésame,” Hopkins said. “We’re a close-knit team, and this is a dream we all have.”
Bésame opened its doors in spring of 2018, as a sister restaurant of Mambo.
The James Beard House is part of the nonprofit James Beard Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone. The foundation aims to accomplish this by way of scholarships, culinary and leadership education, awards for change-makers and impact-oriented initiatives, including one addressing the gender imbalance in the culinary industry and an advocacy training toward food-oriented policy change.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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