Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The Return of Chef Jerry

Back in 2013 I encountered a restaurant called Kesh on the east side of town. I had many great meals, conversations and experiences with friends and Jerry Helminski the owner and chef. It closed a few years later and the chef went on to work at other places. 

I've kept in touch with him over the years and recently we started talking about his next endeavors. He's got a few different things in the works. 

Recently we got together for a supper club and to try some of his culinary creations and discuss some techniques of preparation.

We started with some marinated olives and peppers, they were marinated in oil and I believe crushed red pepper flakes.

The theme of the dinner was salt, we were presented with a variety of salts to taste and smell including Hawaiian black and red, kosher, maldon and smoked.

Course 1 was Compressed Watermelon with Pickled Onions, Aged Balsamic, and Black Salt. This had a great flavor excellent combination of salty and mildly sweet.

I wanted to better understand the process of compressing watermelon, it involves a Cryovac. So Chef demonstrated it for us. 

Course 2 was tuna tartare with cucumbers, this was simple and pleasant. We discussed sourcing of fish you can eat raw, which may be challenging for some who don't have connections with a seafood distributor. The smoked sea salt elevated this dish.

Course 3 up was Grilled Korean Style Beef Short Ribs with Kimchi BBQ Glaze, I loved this. I like the visual of the plating as well.

Course 4 was red salt seared scallops with mushrooms & ginger hot siphon infused broth and blistered tomatoes. Chef demonstrated how to use the infusing machine, which reminded me of high school chemistry class, the infuser is similar to some high end coffee machines with the beakers and glass. The broth is in the bottom and is boiled up to the top where the ginger, lemon and peppers are. Then the broth drips back down through a strainer.

Course 5 was crispy-salty skin pork belly with sherry syrup & almonds, The skin was exceptionally crispy the sauce was sweet. This was an excellent dish.

Course 6 was kombu & pink salt cured salmon belly with shaved truffle and black and salmon roe. Kombu is a seaweed that can impart dishes with umami flavor.

The final course of dessert was a selection of beets, dried fruit and chocolate hummus, I was a little skeptical about the chocolate hummus, but it was actually fantastic. I could lightly taste the chick peas flavor. This course was a unique take on dessert. 

Overall this night was one to remember, an excellent experience.. My favorite part other than the fantastic food is discussing the cooking techniques to see what I can absorb for my own home cooking attempts. 

I can't wait to see what Jerry has in store for the future.