It's been a whirlwind week for Jenna Johansen. The former executive chef of Dish, in Edwards, which she still co-owns, made her smashing debut on Around the World in 80 Plates, a new chef-driven reality show on Bravo that premiered on Wednesday night (Johansen, by the way, made it through to the next country). And then, last night, she was the guest chef at Studio F, the culinary entertainment event space and kitchen at 1801 Wynkoop Street owned by James Mazzio.
"This is my kitchen, but tonight, it isn't my kitchen -- it's Jenna Johansen's kitchen," Mazzio alerted the crowd who had gathered for the first of Johansen's three sprout up dinners, which will also take place tonight and tomorrow night, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception commanded by mixology virtuoso Brian Melton, who also pairs several of his cocktails with Johansen's around-the-world dinner.
"It's such an honor to have Jenna, a star on the rise, cooking for all of us," added Mazzio, who shared the kitchen with Johannsen, along with her fiancee Mark DiNittis, the owner of Il Mondo Vecchio and several other culinarians. The dinner, which Johansen teased was "inspired by my past travels around the globe -- countries that I may or my not have visited on the show" -- included five courses, which traversed through Spain, Thailand, Italy, France and Morocco.
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Herewith, the feast.
Chorizo and onion empanadas. Skewered beef hearts with blistered tomatoes and pan rustico (worth the price of admission). Rosé sangria. Yam kum chiang -- a spicy Chinese sausage salad -- with lap chong from Il Mondo Vecchio, onions, cilantro, cucumbers and peanuts dressed with a Thai vinaigrette. Risotto with asparagus, burrata and chive pesto. Beef cheek Bourguignon straddling crispy potato rounds. "This is my favorite thing in the world," said Johansen. "It's such a sensual cut of meat." For dessert, Johansen served m'hanncha, a Moroccan serpent cake, alongside honey-filled dates. The dessert's sidekick was a spectacular Moroccan cocktail with gin and minted honey.
Tickets are still available for the tonight and tomorrow night's dinner; tickets are $100 each and can be purchased at studioflodo.com/category/may-events/.