Supper Club at The Kessler (presented by City of Ate) returns Wednesday with chef Tim Byres of Smoke. Byres' summer-inspired four-course-meal will be paired with four wines from California-based Wente Vineyards. Austin-based bluegrass/indie act MilkDrive will provide the tunes for party-goers to kick up their heels. We had the opportunity to chat with Byres on his cooking influences, favorite music to cook to and inspiration for the Supper Club menu. Check out our exclusive Q&A and full menu with wine parings after the jump.
Who is your greatest cooking influence?
Many, but mostly family and friends. I really believe in trying to cook and entertain in a way that promotes the "hospitality" of the party -- it is an overall good time, not just the food. This is also my current train of thought. Things definitely change as you get older. I grew up as a kid in Northern California and remember this fresh food way of doing things. Unknowingly at the time, I think I was a part of the California food movement of the late '70s and '80s. My mom is from a small farm in Idaho, and my father from NYC, so this all comes into play. As a young cook I was very taken by Larry Forgione and his restaurant American Place. I really wanted to do American food, Not just local but our cultural foods and gatherings. [I was also influenced by] the late Edna Lewis and her book In Pursuit of Flavor.
What's your favorite music to cook to?
Currently indie folk bluegrass like The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show, and AC/DC's High Voltage.
What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Homemade pickles, fresh herbs, tomatillos and dry chiles.
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What is your biggest challenge in creating recipes?
Taking the time to write them down.
What inspired your Supper Club menu?
Summertime, fun, friends and family.
First Course: Butter lettuce and sunflower seeds with lemon Tahini dressing. Wente Vineyard Selection Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc 2009/2010.
Second Course: Heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho with blackberry vinegar, summer savory and sea salt. Wente Vineyard Selection Morning Fog Chardonnay 2008/2009.
Third Course: Grilled BBQ Cornish game hen with romaine, walnuts and chicken salad vinaigrette. Wente Heritage Block Reliz Creek Pinot Noir 2007/2008.
Fourth Course: Blueberry buckle with peaches and lavender cream. Wente Vineyard Selection Riverbank Riesling 2008.