The Seventh Annual Athens Wine Weekend took place earlier this month at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia. Pastry Chef Jennifer Merino, Asst. Mgr. Jonathan Tanner (a.k.a. JT), and I loaded into the company van and headed down to participate in the kick-off event of the weekend, the Amuse-Bouche “A Little Surprise”.
The preparation for the event was a little intense with Chef Jenn needing to be creative and forward thinking on what to prepare that would represent the Club well. By design of the event the “surprise” had to be bite-size, easily transportable, and, of course, deliciously tasty. Jenn’s winning idea became a Honey Pistachio Tartlet with Goat Cheese Creme. This delicacy called for bits of pistachios, local honey, dried fruits, orange juice for citrus, creamy mascarpone, heavy cream, and of course goat cheese. I imagine her patience was tested as she had to prepare 400 of these tiny creations!
It was a pleasure watching Jenn and JT working so well together as a team by packing of all of the items needed to pull this off. Both Jenn and I had the pleasure of being chauffeured to Athens by JT, as I am new to the area and still rely heavily on GPS. As luck would have it when we arrived there was no place to park, but one of the directors with the event recognized the Waterfall Club logo and directed us into a coned-off location for front door service. How sweet it is to have corporate relationships!
This event is a benefit for The Classic Center Cultural Foundation, which helps provide performing and culinary arts scholarships for high school and college students and supports performing and visual arts programs for the Athens community. This was a great opportunity for us to network with other local Chefs and professionals in the food and beverage industry. Chef Ray Whitlock from The Georgia Club, Chef Joseph Houston III from Five Bar, Chef Chris McCook from Athens Country Club, and Chef Daniel Massie from Levy Restaurants, were just a few of the participants that we were able to rub elbows with. Each Chef’s creation was paired with a wine to complement the specific ingredients and our wine chosen was the La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino from Italy.
Well, I am very proud to say that the wine paired very nicely, once it was given an opportunity to breathe. The star of the show though was Chef Jenn’s Tart! Several attendees came back for seconds and made comments that her tart was the best of the offerings. That speaks volumes about how valuable Chef Jenn is to the team at Waterfall Club. I can also not say enough about the welcoming personality of JT and how comfortable he made people feel while approaching our display by answering questions about the unique amenities and services at Waterfall Club. This proved to be a rewarding experience for the three of us and really allowed us to grow to know one another in a setting that we might not have had the opportunity to do so…all the while for a great cause!