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Le Bailliage du Greater Washington, DC Chapter

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Tabard Inn – La Cuisine d’ Alchimie: The Gastronomic Wizardry of Chef Adrian Diday

September 18, 2014

By Vice Chargée de Presse Claudette Veronica Ferron

Intriguing, unique and erudite, are all words that could be used to describe the culinary wizardry of Executive Chef Adrian Diday, featured at Washington, D.C.’s Tabard Inn. Ultimately, it is simply la cuisine d’alchimie – culinary magic providing the superlative epicurean experience which members and guests of the Greater Washington, D.C., Bailliage, shared at the illustrious, near century-old gastronomic haven, tucked away in Dupont Circle.

At the hands of Chef Diday, the Tabard Inn showcased another dimension of its auspicious culinary legacy. The dinner was a bewitching adventure to an eclectic edible fair – a sophisticated exposition of extraordinary culinary imagination and creativity, highlighting locally sourced, virginally fresh ingredients and beguiling wine pairings.

Nestled in the warmth of a cloistered secret garden, Chef Diday mesmerized diners with a visually stunning cultural mosaic of palate-arousing hors d’oeuvres, amplified by Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco de Sorbara Secco, “Vecchia Modena” NV (Emilia Romangna, Italy), a lusty, bright-berry wine with an evanescent sparkle and distinctive bouquet, reminiscent of violets and a hint of spice – deliciously matched with the robust and meaty appetizers.

Beginning with the succulent Wagyu bone marrow, magically infused with chamomile, caressed with a touch of mustard and a lancet of leek, and a hot-Sour soup with  morsels of smoked tofu teased by a whisper of  ghost peppers and flecks of extravagant black truffle; to the ingenious duck Scrapple (Rillettes) – tender shreds of delectable duck crowned with cunningly conjured carbonated cherries, and an alchemistic smoked eel seeped in a seduction of sweet soy, vanilla bean and feverish ginger, diners were captivated by tantalizing mouthfuls of contrastive gastronomy.

After retreating to the inviting privacy of the Victorian dining room, members warmly welcomed the news of the appointment of a new Vice Chargèe de Presse, Dame de la Chaine, Claudette Veronica Ferron, and Chef Diday’s enlightening reflections on his exquisite culinary prelude.

The epicurean enchantment continued with the main course, showcasing the Chef’s Merlinian touch, with exceptional ingredients, masterful technique, and imaginative presentation.

Chef Diday opened with an acorn squash carpaccio – delicate filaments of tender squash, tangy tidbits of smoked Cipollini and crunchy candied pepita with a savory pain pardue, balanced with a 2012 BK Wines One Ball Chardonnay  (Adelaide Hills Australia), a pale, pert and understated Chardonnay with a hint of sweetness, a touch of lime and a chimera of yeast. The Chef then followed with snakehead charcuterie – voluptuous fleshy bites of magically transformed meat parodies, harmoniously dressed with smoked cranberry and slips of shimmering crystallized ginger, deftly paired with Domain Faury Saint Joseph Blanc 2011 (Rhone Valley France), a lively, fresh white wine with flavors as intriguing as the dish with which it was served, exuding the perfume of pear and melon, and finishing with a lingering minerality. Venturing further into temptation, guests enjoyed a salubrious beet salad – impish baby beets flirting with nibbles of Stilton, nuzzling tender mystical black garlic cloves, splashed with a bright lavender and Meyer lemon elixir, matched flirtatiously with a coquettish  Château de Segries Tavel Rosé 2013 (Romance Valley, France), a rich, playful, bright-berry rosé with mild floral and herbal notes, and an alluring spiciness. Descending deeper into decadence, guests feasted on Guinea hen – a sumptuous, moribund porchetta, languidly reposed on a fluffy popcorn grits pottage, accentuated with an enticing charred San Marzano tomato jam, enhanced by an elegant Patricia Green 2012 Pinot Noir, Freedom Hill Pommard Clone (Williamette Valley, Oregon), a rich, plush, dark cherry wine, with earthy black olive undertones and fragrant Indian spice notes. Indulgent dry-aged caribou culminated the main course foray into Chef Diday’s enchanted epicurean oasis – a lusty saddle of game, reminiscent of the hunt, captured in a symphony of spiced apple spaetzel, ambrosial heirloom carrots, and a redolent root beer reduction, perfected by an opulent pairing with a 1996 Château La Gomerie Saint Emilion (Bordeaux, France), an exquisite, full-bodied, intense, ruby Bordeaux, offering  ripe black plum, chocolate and licorice flavors with a velvety smooth finish.

Chef Diday heightened the sensuous culinary experience by punctuating the sorcerous feast with enlightening narrations on each of his gastronomic treasures. And members were further enticed by Chevalier Mark C. Lewonowski’s illuminations on the alluring wines that were devilishly paired with the Chef’s bewitching creations.

The magical dinner was seductively sealed with a sumptuous dessert of warm apricot soup - a silken, diaphanous potion encircling a delicate, liquescent Chai marshmallow, creating a mystical liquor laced  with scintillating preserved lemon and chili threads –  sensually embellished by a 2011 Camin Larredya Au Capceu (Jurançon, France), a Petit Manseng wine yielding aromas of orange, apricot, figs and white truffle  with a lavish, honey-laden finish -- a sublime consummation to an enchanting dessert, and  a superlative feast.

Ultimately, Chef Diday1 captivated guests with a mystical epicurean exhibition of ingenious artistry that enthralled the palate, raptured the mind, and romanced the eye. Chef Diday’s incantations at the Tabard Inn showcased culinary creativity elevated to the realm of magical, hedonic gastronomy.

Up next for the vibrant Greater Washington, D. C., Bailliage -- a return to La Chaine Des Rotisseurs’ origins – source, DC La Chaîne’s own Maître Rotisseur Scott Drewno’s inventive creations at “The Source.” A tried and true favorite, directed by the master Chef who will present an innovative and unique culinary essay on roasted game that promises to be an unforgettable gastronomic indulgence.


1. Chef Adrian Diday is no longer at the Tabard Inn, and Washington gastronomes are eagerly waiting with baited appetites to see where he will reappear next.

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