“Benchmark Holiday Dinner” Brings Wild Game to Manhattan

New York, November 2014 … It’s Game On, as five acclaimed young chefs and a leading sommelier from Benchmark Hospitality International bring an array of wild game, innovative regional dishes and fine wines to the James Beard House in New York City. The five-course chef’s dinner, “Benchmark Holiday” is a winter feast, showcasing wild game and local ingredients from Washington State, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and Virginia. Elk, bison, venison and pheasant are on this succulent tasting menu along with veal, goat and black cod. The event is scheduled for Thursday, December 11, 2014, at 7:00 pm.

Featured chefs representing the signature fine dining restaurants, resorts and hotels within Benchmark Hospitality’s two brand portfolios will be Jordan ChefEnder_profile_pic_newMackey of Hotel Contessa in San Antonio; Bobby Moore of Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington; Ender Oktayuren of the World of Whirlpool in Chicago; Timothy Ralphs of Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs and Jason Smith from The Inn at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Max Kiebach, the food & beverage director and sommelier at The Inn at Virginia Tech, will be joining the dinner to discuss wine pairings.

The Benchmark James Beard Dinner will begin with an hors d’oeuvres and wine reception at 7:00 pm on December 11th. A specially created Manhattan Holiday Cocktail will be offered, consisting of Crown Royal, St. Germain, fresh squeezed Orange Juice a dash of Ground Ginger and Boston ‘Bittahs’ — Shaken & Served in a Martini Glass with a Candied Orange-Mint Garnish*. The five-course chefs tasting menu will be served starting at 8:00 pm. Reservations can be arranged by calling the James Beard House at 212-627-2308. Prices are $130 per person for members of the James Beard Foundation and $170 per person for the general public.

“Our chefs are very excited and appreciative for the opportunity to be part of the James Beard House experience,” said Tom Garcia, vice president of food & beverage for Benchmark Hospitality. “After many thoughtful hours of planning and preparation for this event, we are eager to display our culinary talents at this temple for the culinary arts — the James Beard House. This is a tremendous honor for us!”

“We are thrilled to welcome back the chefs from Benchmark Hospitality to the James Beard House,” said Izabela Wojcik, director of house programming for The James Beard Foundation. “Game On is their theme this year, though every year Benchmark’s chefs have been invited to cook at the Beard House they have been at the top of their game! Having them with us is a cherished holiday tradition for our guests and members of the Foundation.”

The James Beard House was once the residence of legendary James Beard, America’s first celebrity chef who is revered today as the dean of American Cookery. Mr. Beard lived in the Greenwich Village townhouse until his passing in 1985. A gifted impresario who along with his close friend, Julia Child, led the way for many of today’s celebrity chefs, James Beard established cooking schools and published over 20 cookbooks, many of which are still in print. As important, he left a legacy of culinary excellence and integrity for generations of America’s home cooks and professional chefs.

Game On! Benchmark’s Holiday Dinner Menu


Hors d’oeuvres ~ Butler Passed
Oregon Elk Tartare
with Charred Walla Walla Onion Jam on Lavash
Humboldt Fog,Medjool Date Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on Brioche
with Truffled Butternut Bisque
Broken Arrow Ranch Dorper Lamb Shoulder Rillette Cigarillos
with Brazos Valley Eden Fonduta Cheese and Texas Barbecued Pecans
Sous Vide Pleasant Meadows Farms Goat Cheeks
with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Dijonnaise
Juniper and Pomegranate-Marinated,
Spice-Crusted Venison on Rosemary Skewers

“The Manhattan Holiday” Signature Cocktail*
Moët & Chandon NV Impérial Brut Rosé
San Pellegrino


First Course
Maple and Miso-Marinated Neah Bay Black Cod
with Cedar, Whiskey, Brussels Sprouts, Dates, Bacon, and Pears
Wölffer Estate Riesling “The Grapes of Roth” Long Island, NY 2013

Second Course
Forest Fed Tamworth Pig Belly
with Byrd Mill Virginia Stone-Ground Grits, Lacinato Kale, Cheddar, Stout, Parsnips, and Huckleberries
Prince Michel Chardonnay Virginia Barrel Select

Third Course
Bear Mountain Bison Short Ribs with Parsnip-Celery Root Soup, Quail Egg, Bacon Whipped Cream, Buttery Brioche Crumbs, and Black Truffles
Mark Ryan Winery Syrah Yakima Valley Lost Soul Red Willow Vineyard 2012

Fourth Course
Roasted Mint Creek Farm Veal Loin with Braised Veal Cheek, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads, Charred Leeks, Roasted Garlic Aïoli, Carrot Purée, Pickled Shallots, Mustard Seeds, Veal Jus, and Micro-Herbs
Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino 2012 DOC

Fifth Course
Pleasant View Farm Foie Gras-Stuffed Doughnut Holes
with Vanilla Bean Gastrique and Candied Bacon Jam
Terra d’oro Zinfandel Port Amador County NV

* Manhattan Holiday Cocktail recipe: 1.5 oz. Crown Royal, 0.5 oz. St. Germain, 0.75 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, Juice from ½ Small Lemon, Dash of Ground Ginger, 2 Drops Boston ‘Bittahs’ Shaken & Served in a Martini Glass, Candied Orange-Mint Garnish

About the James Beard Foundation (JBF)
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. In September of 2012, JBF launched the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol and helped create the American Chef Corps as a way to champion American chefs abroad, promote American food products, and foster an interest in American culinary culture and history through international programs and initiatives. One such project is the next world’s fair, Expo Milano 2015, for which the James Beard Foundation is co-leading the effort for the State Department to design and produce the USA Pavilion, a global gathering of 147 countries addressing the challenges of how we will feed ourselves in the future. The pavilion, whose theme will be “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” will showcase America’s contributions to global food security and gastronomy. For more information, please visit Find insights on food at the James Beard Foundation’s blog Delights & Prejudices. Join the James Beard Foundation on Facebook. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Twitter and Instagram.

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers. The company’s two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan. As a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence. Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile. For additional company information visit To become a fan on Facebook, visit, or follow us on Twitter at

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