All over town, there are talented chefs languishing in semi-obscurity. These are the chefs heading up the kitchens in public institutions — universities, convention facilities and even hospitals — and in private institutions like country clubs. They might not operate in the limelight, but the hours are more regular and the benefits packages are often better.
The executive chefs of hotels fall into their own blurry category. Their audience is mostly transient, but a few manage to find a following and make a name.
Bryan Sullivan has been the executive chef for Brookshire Suites and Pier 5 Hotel since February 2008, where he's been keeping a low profile. A new culinary series, launching next month, is designed to put Sullivan's talents in the spotlight.
The Best of Baltimore Food and Wine Dinner, scheduled for March 5 in the Pier 5 Hotel's Harbor Club ballroom, will team Sullivan with chefs from McCormick & Schmick's, Aldo's Ristorante Italiano and Meli American Bistro. Each chef is responsible for his own course in the multicourse dinner.
The event inaugurates a yearlong schedule of culinary events organized by Harbor Magic Hotels, the management group for the Pier 5 Hotel and Brookshire Suites. The Best of Baltimore dinner kicks off a series of monthly cooking demos and parties designed to give Sullivan, and the Harbor Magic properties, more exposure in the local arena.
A graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., Sullivan worked with Michel Richard at the famous Citronelle Restaurant in Georgetown before moving to Baltimore, where he was executive chef of the Admiral Fell Inn and, later, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Tickets are $75; and can be purchased by calling 410-951-1667 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Good for the gander The semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation's annual Chef and Restaurant Awards were announced last week, and Cindy Wolf was among the 20 names in the category of Best Chef-Mid-Atlantic.
The awards process for the awards is a little confusing. The first step is the naming of the semifinalists, followed by the revelation, on March 21, of the five finalists in each of the foundation's 19 award categories. The finalists are also referred to as "nominees."
While appearing on the list of semifinalists is no slap in the face, it's making the finalist round that entitles a chef, by convention, to refer to himself or herself as a James Beard "nominee."
Wolf has been a nominee in the Mid-Atlantic category twice previously, in 2006 and 2008. As best I can tell, no other Baltimore-based chef has been a James Beard nominee, although Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen) was a semifinalist last year.
The James Beard announcements brought even brighter news for Charleston, which was listed as a semi-finalist in two national categories — Outstanding Service and Outstanding Wine Service. The latter distinction was in the name of Tony Foreman, Cindy Wolf's partner in the Foreman-Wolf group of restaurants, which includes, besides Charleston, Cinghiale, Petit Louis and Pazo.
Que Syrah, Shiraz From 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Science Uncorked, the Maryland Science Center's popular wine sampling and food pairing event, returns with a new in-depth discussion of grapes from around the world.
The February event is called (ahem) "Que Syrah, Shiraz," and will feature wine and food experts from the Wine Market. Participants will compare grape varietals grown in different parts of the world and discover how and why the wines differ.
Tickets for Thursday are $50 and can be reserved by calling 410-545-5980.
Rockfish all over The Dine Downtown Baltimore rockfish celebration continues through next Monday. The event features striped bass on the menu of 20 downtown restaurants. For details, go to dinedowntownbaltimore.com/docs/rockfish.pdf