An Evening with IVY + Northern Fork
Kathleen Jenkins, Director of Sales & Events at Northern Fork Catering. A professional Pinterester, foodie, adventurous traveler, and fur momma. — April 24, 2017
Earlier this month, Northern Fork teamed up with IVY, the world’s first social university, igniting minds and sparking world-changing collaborations for a pop-up springtime feast with interactive demonstrations, wine pairings, and goodie bags.
Our evening began with a light cocktail hour, just enough to curb everyone’s appetite after a long day at the office. Northern Fork served up chocolate-dipped candied bacon and spicy roasted pear with goat cheese crostini. Ellyn Cook, Northern Fork’s Sommelier, paired these bites with our Summer Thyme and Whiskey Flower cocktails. We chose combinations of light and fresh cocktails with savory and spicy bites.
The members split into smaller groups to engage in interactive workshops. Each group spent some time with Northern Fork’s Executive Chef, Katie Boyd, developing their very own spice blends. A similar spice blend was later served on our Mexican Chocolate-Red Wine Short Rib. Chef Katie described each component and instructed IVY members in making their own custom blends to take home. Next, IVY members met with Ellyn up in the loft for a cocktail demonstration. The group learned to master the Summer Thyme and Whiskey Flower cocktails, both featured on Northern Fork’s craft cocktail list. Members received small bottles of vodka and their very own thyme plant to take home. Nothing says springtime quite like fresh herbs!
Members took their seats at Kitchen Chicago’s beautiful farmhouse tables decked out in gold, gray, and sage place settings courtesy of Tablescapes Rentals. Custom print menus, fresh cut flowers, and an array of small candles in mercury glass rounded out the table. Our focus was to highlight the venue, speak to the season, and most importantly, let the food shine through.
Chef Katie’s first-course really speaks to the #eattherainbow movement! She took the average “dinner salad” to a whole new level. Roasted beets, blood and traditional oranges, creamy goat cheese, and a pistachio vinaigrette was paired with a light and crisp French Sauvignon Blanc. Served on long rectangular plates this dish popped with both flavor and color.
IVY members did not have to choose between two different entrees. Our team at Northern Fork decided to serve two entrees; one fish, one beef. Our Grilled Halibut on Hominy Succotash with Lime Butter and Tomatillo Cream Sauce made jaws drop as these plates hit the table. The spicy-citrusy aromas engulfed each plate. Paired with an Tangent Albarino from Edna Valley, California, this dish was certainly the crowd favorite. The citrus notes in the wine ,lime zest, and zesty jalapenos made for the perfect pairing.
Next, Chef Katie’s Mexican Chocolate-Red Wine Short Rib and Root Vegetable Mash was served alongside a Chilean red blend, similar to an American Cabernet. The full-bodied wine with a peppery note paired perfectly with this ultra savory dish. This hearty dish is a perfect alternative to that otherwise poorly cooked steak sometimes served at large events. Meaty, rich, and satisfying, this dish is sure to impress.
You cannot end the perfect dinner party without a little something made with love. Chef Katie called upon her Aunt Betty’s pie recipe. Aunt Betty was born and raised a Mississippi girl (Belmont to be exact) and her pies not only win the county fair but completely impressed our Windy City audience. Chef Katie’s blueberry filling and rustic crust served on a beautiful lattice style plate left members full, joyous, and asking for more.