For the last few months I have been creating and perfecting the menu for the immersive excursion “The Illuminati Ball” created by artist, protectress of animals and all around bad ass Cynthia Von Buhler.
The Illuminati Ball is a surrealist soirée that includes intricate cocktails, mouth-watering delicacies, inspiring music, devilish dances and esoteric rituals. The guests are picked up in Manhattan and taken by limousine to a secret lakeside estate. Depending on how the guests choose to participate, the guests may be involved in power struggles, morality tests, and anthropomorphic escapades. The experience is inspired by the famed “Illuminati Ball” thrown by the Baroness and Baron de Rothschild in 1972. My goal was to create a decadent meal worthy of the sumptuous atmosphere of the ball, but also to ultimately leave the guests feeling like they had eaten real, nourishing food. I don’t want to give too much away about the piece but, for reasons both solidly dramaturgical and subtly subversive, the menu needed to be entirely vegan. Additionally, the menu is totally gluten-free, because it’s important that the chef (me) be able to taste the food! This project has been an exciting challenge and I’m very proud of the menu.
You can click on the hyperlinks to find the recipes. Many thanks to Claire Matern of A Cheesemonger’s Daughter for coming to help cook at the last April show and for taking some of the very beautiful photos of the plated food on the grounds of the estate.
A DECADENT EIGHT COURSE VEGAN TASTING MENU
First course: Sautéed and Salted Medjool Dates
Second Course: Spiced Carrots with Avocado Tahini Sauce and Pistachios
Third Course: Curried Lentil Salad served on Spicy Greens
Sixth Course: Celery Salad with Green Olives and Mint
Seventh Course: Crispy Yuba Mock Duck with Vietnamese Pickles and Herbs
Eighth Course: Creamy Lime Shots with Dark Chocolate and Ginger or Cardamom Cashew Cream and Rhubarb Rose Parfait (the rhubarb is swapped out with strawberries and nectarines seasonally) or Spiced Plum and Chocolate Cashew Cream Parfait.