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Fowl Mouth Duck Dinner, Tuohy for the win

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The smell of fresh duck, fine wine and fruit-infused cocktails filled The Citizen Hotel’s Grange restaurant Thursday night at the second annual Fowl Mouth Dinner, where Grange Executive Chef Michael Tuohy and special guest/food writer Hank Shaw each presented his own version of duck in four different courses.

133 guests show up to participate in this event, and at $55 per plate, everyone got their money’s worth.

Guest and governmental advocate Gary Conover said he enjoyed the ability to have a variety of different kinds of duck applications.

For each course, two culinary creations came out side-by-side: one “A” and one “B,” which the guests were to vote on in a taste test, not knowing who had prepared them.

“Some didn’t taste wild, some tasted very gamey,” Conover said. “And it was fun to be able to rate them.”

 

The amuse-bouche or hors d’œuvre course consisted of a little egg stuffed with duck liver mousse on yuzu gelee (A) and duck tartare with olives, capers, roasted peppers and garlic (B).

67 percent of the audience voted for A, and 33 percent of the guests voted for option B.

Expert judge Rick Kushman of The Sacramento Bee said, “The blend of the egg’s mellow earthiness and the brightness of the yuzu gelee was both fun and a surprise, exactly what an amuse bouche should be.”

The first course was presented in two soup cups, with cup A holding a duck consomme foie gras dumpling, matsutake mushroom and radish sprouts; and cup B with a duck liver tortelloni made from duck eggs in rich duck broth.

Again the guests voted in favor of dish A with 69 percent of the popular vote, leaving dish B in the dust with 31 percent.

The next course came out with a duck confit, pickled daikon and mango salad (A) competing against a duck leg stuffed with duck and pork loganiza sausage and bitter greens (B).

Dish “A” stole the show once again, scoring 75 percent of the guests’ votes.

 

Finally, the main course of the evening consisted of a spice-scented duck breast with sweet potato, baby bok choy and persimmon against dish B, a duck breast roulade with Swiss chard, celery root puree, chanterelles and rue.

And dish B won the vote for the main course with 81 percent, compared to dish A’s 19 percent of the popular vote by the audience.

Kushman voted in sync with the guests, but said it was another tough choice.

“I picked B largely because of the way the celery root puree and the chanterelles complimented and expanded the flavor of the duck,” Kushman said.

Overall, the cuisine that reigned supreme was that of Chef Tuohy, the master behind the dish A creations. He walked away with 67 percent of the people’s vote, including the overall vote of Kushman.

Loyal Grange customer Victor Kearney said he thought it was nearly a tie.

“The quality of the food here is always exceptional, and I think that the presentation was phenomenal,” he said. “As I went through each course, it pretty much came out equal.” 

Photos courtesy of Holly A. Heyser © 2010.

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