Tuesday, September 22, 2009

24, 24, 24: The "Found on Foodbuzz" 24-Item Tasting Menu

This three-part video blog chronicles an epic, 24-item tasting menu, done for Foodbuzz's "24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blog Posts" global “live blogging” event. The story behind this is…well, why don’t I let my friends at Foodbuzz explain.

"The idea for the "24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs," was born out of our goal in wanting to create a global "blogging" event that would celebrate the scope, diversity and quality of our Featured Publisher Community. The "24, 24, 24" captures the cultural diversity and unique local perspective of our Featured Publishers: it's real food, experienced by real people shared real-time."

I'd planned for my "Found on Foodbuzz" menu to be inspired by mindlessly surfing the site - looking at photos, scanning restaurant reviews, browsing blog posts, and reading recipes. I wanted the meal to be an edible steam of culinary consciousness.

The deliciously diabolical feature of Foodbuzz, is the way you are teased and tempted to go from one piece of content to another - a photo takes you to a blog post, which takes you to a recipe, where you see a foodie's profile picture that you can't help click on, because it looks like bacon.

In no time, I had a notepad full of apps, mains, sides, and sauces. Clearly, seven courses weren't going to be enough. The menu quickly expanded to nine courses, then 12, and then I realized…Foodbuzz had taken control. My "24, 24, 24" menu was going to be 24 courses, and I was powerless to stop it.

So, without further adieu, I present my 24-item tasting menu, divided into three easily digested parts. The videos were shot over the course of the six-hour meal. Enjoy!The Beginning: Items 1 to 8
One: Caviar on Pringles
Is this the first time caviar has ever be
en paired with Pringles? Maybe. At the risk of seeming immodest, I think the footage of Nora tasting caviar for the first time is priceless.
Two: Tuna Poke
This diced
sushi-grade Ahi tuna was dressed lightly with ginger juice, Sambal chili sauce, minced green onion, and a spot of soy sauce. As I spooned the glistening jewels of fish on to the crisp fried wontons, I wondered why I like poke so much more than tartar.

Seared Tuna
A Nicoise-inspired tuna, featuring one of the kitchen's sexiest sights - the rare, ruby-red center of the loin, framed by seared, cumin and pepper flecked crust. It was really nice with the "just tender" green beans, which held the fragrant meat above a dark and delicious black olive tapanade.
Four: Tuna Stuffed Tomato
I've never understood the tuna stuffed tomato. Why stuff, when you can just throw som
e tomato wedges in a tuna salad and tuck in? That being said, I can’t imagine this would have been quite the same. The tuna trimmings from the last two courses were slowly poached in warm olive oil, spiked with capers, garlic, and salt. When cool, the tuna was stuffed into small dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms. These were sublime.

Five: Smoked Salmon and Fried Capers
This smoked salmon, purchased at Whole Foods, bore the name of Chicago celebrity chef, Charlie Trotter. It had a great texture, with a nice balance of sweet citrus flavors. The fried capers were a perfect foil to the salmon's rich, oily, goodness.
Six: Shrimp Cocktail on Tomato Ice
This may have been my favorite course. The sweet wild shrimp, buttery avocado, and homemade cocktail sauce, hot with horseradish, all sit
ting on an intensely flavored tomato ice. I was stunned at how beautiful the frozen, freshly squeezed cherry tomato juice looked. It was a color that can only be created with food.
Seven: Seared Salmon on Dill Cucumbers, and Smoked Paprika Oil
I loved the contrast of hot, seared salmon resting on cold, diced cucumber salad. The dressing, made from just two ingredients, yogurt and fresh dill, rewarded my self-control.

Eight: Butter Lettuce Salad with Sweet Herb Dressing
Sometimes you need a break from the ubiquitous baby mixed greens, and what better way than a head of soft, sweet butter lettuce?

The Middle: Items 9 to 16Nine: Chicken Wonton Soup
I know I fold them like tortellini, but who ca
res? The memory of that gingery chopped chicken, encased in tender, translucent wonton skins, bathed in the rich homemade chicken broth, is still so vivid.

Ten: Grilled Quail with Cherry Tomatoes and Curry Oil
Yogurt really is a magical marinade. Combined with an aromatic blend of curry spices, it made the sweet, delicate meat of the quail come alive.

Eleven: Chicken Ballantine with Dijon Cream

I couldn't decide what stuffing to use, so I decided to not use one; and it was spectacular. Salt, pepper, and fresh garden herbs were the reason this chicken tasted like…chicken. Also, I promise to show the butcher-tie used to truss this chicken. That remind
s me, isn’t the Folsom Street Fair happening soon? (Preceding joke intended for Bay Area readers only)Twelve: Duck Confit with Arugula, Green Lentils and Berry Gastrique
I've done the gastrique recipe in several videos, and it has to be the easiest, most delicious sauce for game ever.

Thirteen: Wild Boar Sausage with Mission Figs and Balsamic Reduction
It really is surprising how differently wild and domestic pork tastes. The flavor of this saus
age was so much bigger - it almost has a Pate quality to it. I say let the pigs roam free.

Fourteen: Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Pickled Peppers and Shallots
A quick pickle using sweet peppers made a beautiful base for the mild, tender
pork. It was topped with caramelized shallots to balance the acidity. It was delicious, but as I ate, I thought how great the cold sandwich was going to be.

Fifteen: Pork Shoulder with White Bean
Puree and Sage Jus
When you get to heaven, you and your God sit down on beanbag chairs, and eat slow-roasted pork shoulder. This includes everyone, even vegans.

Sixteen: French Onion Soup
Forget about muffin tops, what if we opened a store that just sold the top of the French onion soup? Now, what would we call it? The cave-aged Gruyere cheese, browned over soup-soaked bread, is unlike anything else in the world.

The End: Items 17 to 24Seventeen: Baby Romaine with Anchovy Citronette
Why is every salad that has romaine lettuce called a
Caesar? And why are there so many ways to spell Cesar? If you've never made a citronette, check out the video recipe here.

Eighteen: Beef Tenderloin with Melted Leeks and Wild Mushrooms

This incredibly tender cut of beef gets no respect from the Ribeye crowd. They say it's too mild, to soft, to delicate. Well, for pairing with melted leeks and chanterelles, I say it's the perfect cut.

Nineteen: Dry-Aged Coulotte Steak with Potato Gratin and Tarragon Reduction
I love potato gratin so much, that I sometimes decide which entrée to order based on what meat is being served with it
. This course was an experiment with the home "dry-aging" of steak. It was proclaimed a success by all present.Twenty: Braised Beef Short Ribs scented with Chocolate and Cinnamon
You have to taste this before you say it's "too weird." The spices do strange and wonderful things to the sticky beef, and you should be take advantage.
Twenty-one: Selles-sur-Cher Goat Cheese with Frog Hollow Peach
As much as I love this funky fromage, it was almost an afterthought once we tasted the impossibly sweet and juicy "Autumn Fire" peach from Fog Hollow Farms.
Twenty-two: Manchego Cheese and Membrillo
This course is an edible tribute to the expression, "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts." This is two great ingredients combining to make magic. I've also done a fantastic quesadilla using this combo.

Twenty-three: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Ice Cream
I was concerned that after 22 courses this would be too decadent a dessert. I was wrong.

Twenty-four: A Single Macadamia Nut
Could you eat just one?

I think this 24-item menu may be some kind of world's record for a video blog. If anyone wants to check with Guinness for me, I would really appreciate it. Tomorrow, I will attempt to link this post to previous video recipes for techniques used on this menu. If you want to see something demo'd from this menu, please let me know!

If you want to check out the other 23 bloggers that took part, you can find links to their "24, 24, 24" meals here. A very special thanks to Ryan, and the entire Foodbuzz team, for imagining and organizing such a unique event! It was an unbelievable experience, and I am so glad I got to participate. It was weeks of planning, two-days of cooking, six-hours of eating, and an almost all-night editing session to complete, but I can honesty say I enjoyed every minute.

An extra special thanks to my wife Michele. Without all her hard work I could not have pulled this off. Also, thanks to Tony and Nora for their help, and for sharing in this memorable meal.

Random Facts and Figures

  • Approximately 45 Foodbuzz pages were perused in the planning of this meal.
  • The menu was changed 7 times before this final version.
  • 58 unique ingredients were purchased at 12 different San Francisco markets.
  • Incredibly, bacon was not used anywhere in this menu. How was that possible?
  • The misenplace took 18 hours of prep, over the course of four days.
  • No fingers or hands were harmed in the making of this meal.
  • The combined running time for these three videos is 18:04. This was edited down from 41 minutes of raw footage.


Anonymous said...

Wow Chef..impressive! 5 stars and thensome. Thanks for the vids!

Anonymous said...

Hey chef John,

Are you going to demo all of these foods? They all look yummy. I'm waiting for when it rains down here in L.A. so I can make some of that french onion soup. or at least a chilly day(it may never rain down here haha)

I got a question about how you dry age though. Don't you have to have fat around the meat to dry age? I watched the Alton brown episode about dry aging countless of times on youtube. How did you do it? was it because of the salt? How does molded meat look like? If you can post a picture or do a session about dry aging beef, that would be helpful. Thanks you for all the culinary advices.

Chef John said...

i briefly covered it in part 3, but may do another video on it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow!
Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!
Umm, umm, umm, umm, umm, umm, umm, umm!
Ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh!




Anonymous said...

woah, 24 dishes, I'm really impressed! I really enjoyed watching the 3 videos - the food and narration is just awesome. Good job! :)

Chef John said...

Thanks! It was a lot of fun! As soon as I get some sleep, I will check yours out.

Marija said...

What an impressive line of dishes! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how you managed to sleep after so much food. And yes I think you might make it to the Guiness World of records!

Anonymous said...

What an absolute feast! Congrats for getting through it all - you must be so tired.

Great choices too!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Big fan, long time viewer. Love the 24^3 videos, very cool! I've been reading a lot about French cooking (Les Halles Cookbook, The French Chef Cookbook). And as you know, the basis of any recipe is good stock. Since I saw you using home made veal stock on these videos, I was hoping you could do a veal stock and even a demi-glace video. What do you think?

judyfoodie said...

Congrats on your 24 success! That was ambitious and looks absolutely wonderful. What a great idea!

Chef John said...

Yes, a veal stock would be a good demo.

Anonymous said...

John, this has to be the best food video on the net... Love your originality in the dishes!

Giff said...

lol you are nuts! 24 dishes! No, it's great and I can't imagine the work that went into editing all the film you shot, let alone the meals themselves. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

The 24 Item Tasting Menu could be viewed as Chef John's version of the movie Big Night!

Super presentation! And, thanks for adding the Random Facts & Figures. Very interesting to know what's in store should one hope to attempt this extravaganza!

Anonymous said...

lol @ Folsom Street Fair ref

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm going to have to come back and hunker down with a glass of wine for this one. Jeez! I'm astounded at the work this must have been...

maybelles mom said...

how wonderfully ambitious. our 10 courses seemed crazy, can't imagine 24. the videos are well done as are your choices.

Kian said...

What an incredible feast! 24 courses! Well done Chef John.

Anonymous said...

I watched all three vids while eating Keebler Chips Deluxe chocolate chip cookies.
And I didn't notice you using them in any of your meals. I mean, what are the chances?
... maybe I'm on the wrong track... hmmm...

Congrats. You and your guests are the envy of a lot of people.

Scott - Boston

Chef John said...

Thank you all!!!

Hey scott, turnabout is fair play...

While I read about your chocolate chip cookies I finished off the caviar. ;)

Shelly Borrell said...

Wow -- So very impressive! What a superb job you did. I wish I could have tried all. Thanks, Shelly, Nibbles of Tidbits

Anonymous said...

Wow - what a great job. I really enjoy reading your blog and was very happy that you were one of the lucky ones who got to blog about 24 24 24. Great job!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG, I wish I was your real life friend so that you would feed ME like that. *cry*

The entire thing looked so amazing and yummy.

When are you going to sign up for Top Chef??!

TS of eatingclub vancouver said...

Holy!!! Saying that that's a lot of work is an understatement! Wow.

(BTW, we used your Fried Green Tomatoes video. Thanks! We posted about it on our site.)


Deeba PAB said...

ROCKING GOOD SHOW...24 courses linked so uniquely. Well thought up & beautifully executed! Must have been a lot of hard work. Well done! Congrats on a great Foodbuzz 24!!

Anonymous said...

1 word...


ghanima said...

Wow! You crazy! Why wasn't I invited? :P

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I think I found a goldmine in this blog!

John - where are you located?? Are you giving any classes by any chance?

Gabi @ mamaliga.com

Chef John said...

I'm in San Fran. I'm too busy to do classes right now, unless your rich, then let's talk.

Anonymous said...

24 dishes? Makes me want to try them all. Everything looks very delicious.

anthony j. said...

I'll attest as one of the lucky three diners with the chef that it was all as good as it looks and sounds! Thanks again John, I'm still thinking about the tuna and pork trios!!!

Chef John said...

It was my pleasure! Thanks to you, and the adventurous Nora.

Anne Lossing said...

Absolutely Awesome!! From start to finish. I'm totally impressed!

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Awesome event. Love the creativity, but I'm not entirely sure how you got all that food down!

Anonymous said...

Luisa Vacaville

Our Food Recipes said...

CHEF..what a great recipes..and looks very tasty indeed. I have to learn a lot from ye...Cool !

Greg said...

If I cooked that much food in one day it'd be hotdogs and beans (free range hotdogs of course) for a week.

Put your feet up. Impressive stuff.

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying your videos for awhile, but you really outdid yourself with the ones for this post!

Anonymous said...

Clearly the best of all in 24-24-24 foodbuzz deal! I checked out the others, they were good, but nothing like yours.

Great job.

Any news on the online culinary school you had planned?

Jannie aka Chickengirl said...

WOW. I would of given anything to be there there to eat all of these foods. Yummy thing one after another....

You are so passionate about what you do. This is alot of work. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Amazing work chef! ive got to try the cinnamon and chocolat beef

Anonymous said...

i am in awe of this menu. such beautiful pictures and presentation. great job.

the random facts and figures was a great touch.

Anonymous said...


Is that even safe to eat o.o

Chef John said...

sure, it's just carbon... havent you ever had anything with dark grill marks? same thing.

Damiano Zerneri said...

Enormous - wonderful

Seth G said...



Seth G said...



KrisD said...

So amazing! When I looked over the dishes, the braised short ribs with chocolate and cinnamon caught my eye (along with the Duck and the Wild Boar, but I happened to have a bunch of short ribs).

I have a batch reheating gently, and this dish is my new obsession. I foresee many riffs on that dish over the winter (orange gremolata, anyone?)

Mike Mccoy said...

Total recipes for these would be fab.
Please think about a blog on them or I might become unstable and force you to eat generic grocery store label Vienna sausages. Or I have some canned Cod that I have had for 6 years that has a 2018 expiration date. How good can that be.Pleease.

Kristin said...

Well, all these comments and no one said the first thing that came into my mind...Great food porn, chef! ;)

And clearly this kind of thing is best left to professionals. I do not intend to try this at home. Though I am likely to go for a number of those ideas.

I think you and Michelle elevated yourselves to a new level of foodie.

jaxa taxa said...

Wow. What a beautiful demonstration of your passion and skill as a chef. The years of study, practise and knowledge of ingredients, taste, texture and presentation that went into this menu was fantastic. Thanks for sharing that Chef John.

Leurc said...

hello chef john
i'm a huge fan of you and your videos.
i watch it all the time when i want some food
oh and by the way, can you tell me the name of the jazz piano song in all the 3 videos of 24 item tasting?
i've been looking for it for months..
i would really appreciate it if you tell me the name :)

Chef John said...

I believe its a sound clip called "Curtain Call" from iMovie software package.

Me said...

Hi Chef John, just saw your videos to this 24 dishes and I truly cannot be more impressed! I wish I can one day taste dishes like that, I was extremely captivated by the videos, and I hope that you make another version!