It was Worcester Foodies 50th event and even though we have had some extraordinary dining in the past, this was, hands down, the best Foodies event we have had to date. The food was the main event at Niche Test Kitchen and the players were the A-team of the Niche Hospitality Group. We were able to engage with the chefs as they were making and plating the foods. Lots of questions were volleyed back and forth from our foodies to the chefs, and there was a lot to be learned. For example; Chef Neil took the opportunity to teach the chefs about butchering the pig that was to become the integral part of this evenings tasty choices. Everything from the pig was integrated and used for the offerings that night, so the sampling was diverse and there was certainly something for everyone.
For this foodie though, the Banh Mi Poutine, Oysters on the Half Shell, and the Porchetta Con Pimenton were the leading favorites. Now don’t get me wrong, the other servings were mighty yummy, some were spicy with heat and flavor, like the Oxacan Chorizo Taco’s, but when you put them side by side up against Porchetta cooked and seasoned as perfectly as this one, there is not competition who will raise to the top. This Porchetta con Pimenton was accompanied by some pickled onion, a shaved carrot salad and a crunchy topping of crushed almonds. And it melted in your mouth, mingling the flavors until you crunched down on the nuts and everything integrated to a bit of heaven on your taste buds. This needs to be on some menu, any Bocado please, so I can have this experience again, and other can fall for it for the first time.
That’s the one bit of scariness we had to deal with here in the test kitchen. What if you fall for something and then, through the fates, it never ends up seeing the light of day at any of their restaurants? Shutter.
Test kitchens are the ideal places for a true food lover, the chefs get to be creative and yes- I’ll say the cliche- “work out of the box” that constrains them when having to create for the mass appeal. They can take risks and serve up some spiced pork spread for us and we will all take willing bites and shake our heads with the thoughts “this is so good…I’ll have more” while these items may not get as much play on a restaurant menu with timid diners. With us, its all “Taylor Ham Slider? yes please, pass me another! That Oyster has uni and quail egg mixed with grapefruit and a bit of bacon? I’ll take 3 please… ”
Perhaps you can see that I am a big fan of the adventurous and unique? When I dine out, I want to sample things I can not easily make at home. I want to have mixes of flavors that make my imagination flair up and make me crave more. And that is what we found in the Niche Test Kitchen. I, for one, can not wait to see what Chef Neil and Chef Steve come up with next.