Local chef Elio Scanu closed out the much acclaimed annual Chefdance on the 2012 event's fifth and final night Tuesday with a culinary line-up that spanned goat cheese crème brulee to smoked sea bass.
“What I did tonight was my more personal interpretation of cuisine,” says Scanu, who presented a three -course meal along with an amuse-bouche and dessert.
Chef Elio Scanu with the amuse-bouche course.
Blending his Italian and Venezuelan heritage, Scanu stepped away from his traditional menu at Zucca Trattoria to deliver dishes like yucca gnocchi, suckling pig with tonka bean and petit fours made with Venezuelan cacao. “This was more South America with Italian and European nuances,” says Scanu, noting he worked on the menu for nearly a month before settling on a final line-up and used many ingredients that are indigenous to South America.
Sponsored by Nicholas and Co.—as well as national sponsors Sorel, Yogurtland, Sotheby's, Voss water, Cascal soda and Diageo—the event and venue provided a culinary haven for the filmmakers, actors and celebrities who have descended on Main Street for the Sundance Film Fest. Carole Kane, Mike Birbiglia (“Sleepwalk with Me”), Spike Lee, Tommy Lee, Lou Diamond Phillips and Melanie Lynskey (who is getting some major attention for her role in “Hello, I Must Be Going”)—all attended over the event's five days and were catered to by an impressive roster of chefs including Scanu, Chad White and Jeff Bonilla, Javier Plascencia, Hung Huynh and Donatella Arpaia.
Actors Alison Brie, Lizzy Caplan and Martin Starr ("Save the Date") at Chefdance.
“Here, you cannot buy a ticket or buy a table,” says Kenny Griswold, who founded Chefdance nine years ago and holds the event out of the Memorial Building on Park City's Main Street. His wife is Chefdance President Mimi Kim. “The idea was to create a space where you could put 250 guests together and they would all have a connecting thread. We've had become become partners, decide to do business and become couples.”
Scanu goes over service with the staff and culinary students.
Students from local culinary schools, including the Art Institute, Weber Basin Job Corps and Utah Valley University among others, worked alongside Scanu and the other chefs throughout the week. “They get the opportunity to work with some of the best chefs in the country,” says Nicholas and Co. Corporate Chef Michael L. Nook, who arranges for the students to work during Chefdance. “And this opportunity might give them the chance to work with these chefs again after tonight.”