Across New York City, 17 restaurants joined Woodford Reserve and Edible Manhattan in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Charlie Trotter’s famous eponymous restaurant. To honor his life’s work, the participating restaurants asked their bar and culinary teams to create a pairing that highlights both their culinary chops and the sweet, earthiness of Woodford Reserve Bourbon. For each cocktail sold, Woodford Reserve will donate $1 to the Trotter Project, a mentorship program for those with a “budding interest in the culinary arts, along with the hospitality and service industries.”
The charitable element of this program is just one of the reasons we’re so excited about it. But the pairings really have our palates excited… and our participating chefs are just as pleased. When speaking with chef Harold Villarosa, about his dish, a pan-seared duck breast with braised leeks in hazelnut vin and a Lavender Woodford Duck Jus, he gave us a look into his planning process. “For me, when I think of bourbon, I think of oak, tobacco and leather. It reminds me of a hunting lodge, or just emerging from the woods with a fresh duck; I want to share that feeling with the food pairing for Woodford… The final part of the dish is the sauce on top, the Woodford Jus that I want to feel like a sip of bourbon from the hunter’s flask.”
Chef Villarosa is not alone in bringing this pairing close to home. Kevin Hooshangi explained why the Trotter Project, in particular, was the right organization with which to align his business. “We thought it was the type of project I want to be a part of. Anytime we can utilize our passion for spirits and food to raise money and awareness for a cause that preserves our craft… we consider it an honor and a tenet of our business.” In working through his pairing of smoked cocoa-rubbed ribs, he knew Woodford Reserve Bourbon was the most worthy adversary for the dish.
Join chef Villarosa, Hooshangi and other chefs and bartenders across the city in celebrating their crafts and the legacy of Charlie Trotter by enjoying one of 17 food and Woodford Reserve pairings through September 17.