Concorde Dinner

A tribute to the Concorde and travel, in general. Served on British Airways service with my Concorde collection on display.

I’ve been collecting Concorde service items ever since my trip on the Concorde, from London to New York City, in 2003. I’ve amassed quite a collection now and I’ve been wanting to host a Concorde dinner for some time, to honor the plane, share my obsession, and gather a bunch of good friends. On Bastille Day this year, I finally made it happen.

It was the first time I’d unpacked all of my collection and had it out at one time. It’s become a substantial amount of objects.

With the table set, I also put on display all of the British Airways in-flight service items and gifts I’ve collected (most were from the Concorde but a few may be from other BA classes of service, and I have three items of Air France Concorde gifts and service because they’re beautiful).

We also used my newly finished rolling carts (two converted to bar service with shelves and glass racks) for storage and service.

As people arrived, we started with champagne but the meal itself started when we all sat down to the table (no, those aren’t Concorde seats, but two re-upholstered First Class seats from a 1989 747).

Here is the complete menu:
World Tour Dinner

Marguet-Bonnerave Grand Cru Rosé Champagne Brut à Ambonnay

1994 Ridge California Montebello
2004 Treana Central Coast (Viognier & Marsanne)

Amuse Bouche
Moroccan Eggplant over Amalou in Filo with Drunken Fig and Honey

Inside the filo dough was a small layer of Amalou covered with a spicy eggplant stuffing. The filo was served warm on a sprinkling of honey and the fig had been soaked in syrah.

Tomato Sorbet and Aspic with Gazpacho Confetti

This was a complex dish and I couldn’t have done it without my co-chef, Laurie Blavin. The three balls were all tomato: one was scooped fresh from a ripe tomato, another was a tomato sorbet, and the third was a tomato aspic.They were sprinkled with finely diced cucumber, jalapeno pepper, and red and orange bell pepper, as well as tiny croutons. In essence, this was our variation of a deconstructed gazpacho.

Butter Lettuce and Jicama with Asian Dressing
Fresh Rolls and Butter

Half-broiled/Half-Ceviche Salmon
Over Haricots Verts and Walking Salad

This, too, was a complicated dish and was the inspiration of my friend Debra Solomon who writes the Culiblog. The wild salmon was cooked in ceviche on one half and broiled with butter and dill on the other. The aim was to have one piece of salmon cooked two different ways without dividing it, which required some insulation when in the ceviche bath and even more when it was in the oven. It turned-out pretty good though it would have been easier without trying to do 13 portions at once. The salmon was served over haricot verts and a ragout of various mushrooms, white raisins, and cranberries, and some reduced vegetable broth.

Venician Candied Oranges in Contreau
1999 Hétszóló Tokaji Aszú

This is one of my favorite desserts and it allowed me to make it a couple hours ahead. The Tokaji was heavenly!

Cheese Selections
Delice de Bourgogne, Chèvre, Old Amsterdam Aged Gouda
Fresh Breads

Vosges Chocolate Truffles
(Black Pearl, Red Fire & Quandong)

Peets Coffee and Selection of Teas

1994 Thomas Fogarty California Port
1997 W & J Graham’s 10 Year Tawny Port

Nathan Shedroff
Laurie Blavin

After the toast, we shared travel stories and obsessions (mine being pretty evident) throughout the dinner.
None of this would have been possibly without two great flight attendants, Shawn and Jessica, helping with the cooking and serving. They jumped in with just a little instruction and two diagrams and made everyone comfortable at the dinner (which meant that I could actually enjoy the dinner instead of managing everything myself).