Scenes from Frog Hollow Farm’s “Peaches & Tango”

Nectarine tree at Frog Hollow Farm.

It’s not every day that you find giant canisters of liquid nitrogen and elaborate sous vide cooking equipment on a bucolic fruit farm.

But when “Top Chef All-Stars” Champ Richard Blais visits to cook an elaborate fund-raising dinner for 175 folks, that’s just what you need to make it all happen.

The occasion was Saturday’s “Peaches & Tango: A Dinner in the Orchard” at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, an evening of gourmet eats, live music and tango dancing performances by Trio Garufa. Proceeds benefited the Chez Panisse Foundation.

Chef Richard Blais tears the skin off of fried chicken to serve it as a garnish with hamachi crudo.

Yours truly served as emcee for the fun event, which marked my first time visiting this incredible farm.

The evening kicked off with a short tour of the 133-acre organic farm, which grows outstanding olives, cherries, apricots, pluots, nectarines and some of the most incredible peaches you will ever taste.

In his trademark overalls, Farmer Al shows the damage gophers caused on this organic farm.

Farmer Al Courchesne joked that the farm is 36 years old — younger than its best customer, the 40-year-old Chez Panisse in Berkeley; and older than its most famous customer, Apple in Cupertino.

The evening's menu.

Guests dined outdoors in the orchard.

Dinner was outdoors in the orchard at long tables set with candles, peaches and plums as decorations.

Under a nearby tent, Blais worked with a small crew to prepare the four-course dinner, then took to the stage before each dish was served to describe what he had made.

Blais explains the dishes he made for the dinner.

Luscious pork belly with a velvety peach-cauliflower sauce was cooked sous vide with an immersion circulator that had to be borrowed from Spice Kit in San Francisco just for this event.

Raw hamachi with crunchy, fried chicken skin. Trust me, it works.

Turbot cutlet with cherry tomato and anchovy raisin butter.

The highlight for me was the first course of chilled hamachi, “fried chicken” and smoked aioli. Imagine slices of hamachi done crudo-style with slivers of the best, crunchy fried chicken skin topping it with delicate julienned radishes. The pairing might boggle at first. But it works. Soft with crisp, clean with fatty. Amazing.

Quince tree.

One of the many varieties of peaches the farm is famous for.

As for the liquid nitrogen? It was used to make the dessert of ice cream scooped into homemade cones.

Dinner on a farm has never been so trendy.

More: Nectarine-Frangipane Galette Made with Frog Hollow Farm’s Fruit

And: Frog Hollow Farm’s Warren Pears

And: A Visit to Spice Kit in San Francisco

Plus: My Recent Judging of a “Top Chef” Quick-Fire Challenge in San Jose

Lastly: My Q&A with “Top Chef” Alum Kevin Gillespie

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Date: Monday, 25. July 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, Enticing Events, Food TV, Fruit, General, Health/Nutrition

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20 comments

  1. 1

    Such a fun delicious meal prepared by Richard Blais! that first course sounds really awesome!

  2. 2

    Loverly. I would have loved to demo our tango routine with Trio Garufa. ;)

  3. 3

    How fun!

  4. 4

    Thanks for mentioning this event on your blog. I had sent the link to my husband with the comment that it would make the perfect birthday gift. It was; we had a really great and delicious time. That hamachi was my favorite course too. It was amazing!

  5. 5

    […] from: Food Gal » Blog Archiv » Scenes from Frog Hollow Farm's “Peaches … This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged dessert, farm-has, for-the, fruit, galette, […]

  6. 6

    Now how amazing is this. We received a few samples of Frog Hollow Farm’s dried peaches at the Foodbuzz Festival, and they were so good. Lucky you to attend this one!

  7. 7

    Marcella: Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time at “Peaches & Tango.” I did, too! ;)

  8. 8

    What a fun post and great photos of the event! My family and I have been huge fans of Frog Hollow for years now. We order from them almost on a weekly basis. Their fruit is wonderful and worth every penny :)

  9. 9

    looks like such a fun visit to a farm!

  10. 10

    Post up a video Carolyn, would love to see you as emcee and how a foodie gets the crowd going! I’m a sucker for fried chicken too!

  11. 11

    What a great event! And you took amazing pictures. I was one of the chefs in the kitchen with Chef Blais and it is so nice to see pictures of our dishes. I would LOVE to have any other pictures you have, if you dont mind.

    And I agree with everyone else and what they said about Frog Hollow Farm. Their fruit is amazing and every last person that works there is so nice. I got to spend a lot of time with Farmer Al and the other owners and I love them even more now.

  12. 12

    He can do this all and at an off site kitchen!? :o Well done! And I bet your rocked as emcee :D

  13. 13

    If Richard is in the house, you know liquid nitrogen must not be far behind!

  14. 14

    Everything looks so delicious!

  15. 15

    what an event! Hows Richard like?

  16. 16

    Andrea: You guys did a fantastic job with the food. I bet it was awesome to work with Richard Blais, too.

    Thatssoron: Richard flew in just for the event. He looked a little tired, but you would have never guessed it from the way he energized the crowd and the crew he was working with. He took time to pose for pics with anyone who asked and was as gracious as can be.

  17. 17

    What a great event and great location. The chilled hamachi “fried chicken” does sound amazing. I’ll have fried chicken skin garnish on my mind for the rest of the day.

  18. 18

    It sounds like wonderful food, a great place to have it, an awesome MC and all for a great cause!

  19. 19

    This event was too far for me to go to, but thanks for taking us there with your recap. That hamachi dish looks amazing.

  20. 20

    I got to meet Chef Blais (and Fabio too) last night at the SF Chefs event. Such awesome guys and they were definitely two of my favorites from the show.

    And those pictures you posted look amazing!

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