Wait a minute, did she say preserved seafood?! Preserved local NC seasonal seafood?! Yep, you read that correctly. Cured, smoked, fermented, pickled, dried, confit’ed seafood. Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to attend Piedmont Restaurant‘s winter edition of their Seasons of the Sea Dinner. In collaboration with Raleigh’s Locals Seafood and NC Catch, Piedmont’s Executive Chef John May and Executive Chef Justin Burdett of Local Provisions in Asheville joined forces to create an astonishing multi-course seafood tasting menu highlighting seven different food preservation techniques. Even this seafood hesitant girl couldn’t pass up an offer as enticing as this… oh, and did I mention the funky wine pairings by Piedmont’s animated general manager Crawford Leavoy, duh!?
Not only did I meet some awesome new lady friends (!!), but this seafood-themed dinner completely expanded my narrow view of seafood, in particular preserved seafood. “We focused on manipulating things in interesting ways so to get that preservation experience”, says Piedmont’s chef May in explaining the inspiration for the evening. While presentation, taste, and “wow-value” was an obvious goal, the major aim of this dinner was education on the “mentality of how you would have eaten before you could go to just go to the grocery store everyday…”, stated May.