Patrick McCandless, executive chef at St. Charles Exchange, is amazingly calm discussing the details of his first James Beard House dinner on Feb. 27 in Manhattan.
Cooking on one of America’s grandest stages—though the truth is there is nothing grand at all about the wholly non-descript place—is an event that gives many chefs fits, leaves them biting their nails and claims precious sleep in the days leading up to the dinner.
Is the young lad simply naïve about the task before him? Isn’t the pressure of feeding a faction of New York’s culinary cognoscenti and some national magazine reporters bugging him?
And what about cooking in the Beard House’s notoriously cramped and gloomy kitchen? It’s a far cry from St. Charles’ modern, clean and well-lighted space.
“I used to get worried about stuff like that,” McCandless said, his face framed by a confident, but not cocky, grin. “But I’ve done so many offsite caterings in people’s homes where you don’t have much to use, and you adapt. I can almost guarantee I’ve pulled off a bigger dinner with less stuff.”
McCandless is prepping some of the food for the 60-person meal in Louisville, vacuum packing select ingredients, and then trusting it’ll arrive by air on time and in the right place by Feb. 26.
Leave a Reply