On the surface, it might seem like just another pop-up at Paulie's, but this Sunday's "Sweet Sarriette" pop-up dinner -- an eight-course with wine pairing gourmet dinner prepared by Christina Au, Samantha Mendoza, Andrew Musico and Johnny Wesley -- promises to be extraordinary.
The collaborating chefs represent some of Houston's most gifted up-and-coming young culinary talent. The youngest of the bunch, Au, is just 22. Straight out of culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, she landed a job as pastry cook at Rainbow Lodge. While working full time there, she performed stages (unpaid internships) at Uchi Houston and Kata Robata in her spare time. She was then hired to be part of the opening crew at The Pass and Provisions, where she worked as a pastry cook under Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan, before joining the opening team at Cloud 10 Creamery under dessert wunderkind Chris Leung.
Mendoza, 25, graduated from the Art Institute of Houston and is the current executive pastry chef at Triniti and the soon-to-open FM 903 Bakery. Mendoza started her career at Bedford under Robert Gadsby. Her vacations are spent traveling through Europe to gain inspiration. She has competed in national competitions such as Star Chefs in New York, bringing home two silver and two bronze medals from ACF Competitions in Houston, Dallas, Conroe, and Las Vegas. Just last week, she completed a one-week stage at Eleven Madison Park.
Andrew Musico, 27, has worked through most front and back of the house positions over the last 10 years. He spent six months staging for Richard Knight at Feast; as pastry chef of both Tiny Boxwood and Tiny's No. 5; and as part of the opening crew (in savory) at Oxheart under Justin Yu, working directly under Yu for a year and a half.
Johnny Wesley, 29, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, has worked at well known Houston kitchens including Noe, Azuma Group, Benjy's on Washington, Haven, Killen's Steakhouse and Mr. Peeples. At Pastry Live in Atlanta this year, he took home the People's Choice Award as well as 3rd Over-All in the Dessert Cup category. Wesley also took home first place at this year's Woodland's Wine and Food Week Just Dessert competition.
Sweet Sarriette ("Sarriette" is the French word for "savory") is the first collaboration among these four chefs. The menu has been designed to start savory and end sweet while incorporating some form of pastry or pastry technique into each course. Diners can expect to see savory macarons, ice creams, tarts, breads, dippin' dots, and krispy treats as part of the menu.
The dinner will also be stylish: The chefs have gone all out, going so far as to buy all of their own plateware for the dinner. Each of the chefs will be preparing a savory course and a sweet course, and Felipe Riccio of Camerata has been enlisted to do the wine pairings.
Musico says that his dishes will be inspired by mothers and the ethnic foods he grew up with. Au says her inspiration started with the tart, which she says is one of her favorite pastries. Mendoza says her dessert course is meant to symbolize "the end of spring," inspired by a sheep's milk ice cream topped with fruit and cotton candy she tasted at Jordi Roca's Rocambolesc in Girona, Spain, a couple summers ago. And Wesley says, "My dishes were inspired by the transition from summer to fall. I wanted to present dishes that have the freshness of summertime but some warmth as well."
Eating Our Words was given a sneak peek at the menu, and the savory half is published here (the chefs wanted to keep an element of surprise, so the entire menu is not being revealed). The courses sound creative and unique, and suffice it to say that the sweet portion of the menu is going to be incredible.
1st Course: heirloom tomato/piquillo pepper sorbet/red onion/purple basil 2nd Course: eggplant/calamari/ thai basil/black sesame/long beans/fish sauce/wild rice krispy 3rd Course: market fish/mussels/cipollini/black pepper pate brisee/pea/orange 4th Course: butternut squash/tortellini/ parmesan streusel/pepita/thyme
Event: Sweet Sarriette Dinner What: Eight-course dinner with wine pairings Date: Sunday, September 21, 2014 Location: Paulie's Times: 5:00 p.m. seating/9:00 p.m. seating Cost: $130/pp all inclusive (tax & gratuity included)
Don't miss the chance to experience what will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable pop-ups of the year.
The event is limited to 30 people per seating, and is sure to sell out. To purchase tickets for this event, please visit: Sweet Sarriette Dinner.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.