You’ve seen him in “Iron Chef America”. You’ve seen him on ‘Top Chef Masters’.
David Burke is garden state culinary royalty. He grew up in Hazlett. At 26, he was already a big shot when The River Cafe earned him three stars from The New York Times.
Some of the dozen restaurants he currently runs are here in New Jersey. Seabright’s Drifthouse, Fort His Lee’s Ventanus, Lamson’s Red His Horse, to name just a few.
So why am I writing about him? Because he tried something I had heard of before but never tried. And after reading NJ Monthly’s description of it, I’m never, never, never going to read it.
Eating in the dark. I’ve heard similar stories from other chefs in the past. One version of him I read was that his dining room itself was kept pitch black, and that the waitstaff and delivery men wore night vision goggles to work.
In David Burke’s case, blindfolding a customer does that. His Dining in the Dark Nights are by advance ticket only at his various restaurants on certain nights. So good luck.
July 12th and August 9th will be held at Lamson’s Redhorse. On July 28, Blindfold appeared at The GOAT in Union Beach.
What does eating without looking mean?Burke says so
Enjoy an evening of surprises and discoveries. Knowing how much your other senses can contribute to your diet when you can’t see what’s going on is really empowering.
So you can see that it’s not just invisible. Without knowing it.
I always thought these blind dinners were meant to deprive you of your sight and enhance your senses of taste and smell. According to KT Harrison, who tried one night when he couldn’t not only see what he was eating, but also didn’t know what he was eating.
Burke told them that on the first course, plates would be placed like clock faces at noon, 3, 6 and 9, Harrison said.
Lunch was like a seafood fries worthy of the shore. 3 o’clock was clearly bruschetta. 6 pieces, maybe meatballs. 9 … soft, truffle taste. great mystery. The drink for this course was a gin and fruit flavor.
The rest of the courses proceeded similarly. I put things in my mouth without knowing anything.
Could it be meatballs!?!?
No no no. How can this be fun? For all you know, it could be a meatball, a Rocky Mountain oyster (a bull’s testicle), or the frontal lobe of a monkey’s brain.
I don’t want to assume it’s spaghetti in my mouth only to find out later that it was a humpback’s vas deferens. Anyone okay with this?
See, it’s not that I’m completely vanilla, boring and unadventurous. So I tried eating tripe. I couldn’t, but I tried. I ate muskrat. I have had camels and wild boars. But when I’m eating muskrats, I want to know that I’m eating muskrats. Look?
Imagination can be a folding car. Slowly at first. Then the mind becomes its own and you cannot reason with it.
Surely you could say, “Would David Burke risk all his reputation by offering whale genitalia and disguising it as spaghetti?” of course not. But when he vows to chew on something and it pops like an eyeball, try telling your gag reflex.
no thanks. hard pass. Keep the blindfold in the bedroom. But have fun.
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The opinions expressed in the above post are solely those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminsky.
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