Here’s the dish that I actually was served: Michael White's Maine lobster burrata, eggplant al Funghetto. Did I explain that every table gets a different meal? Through some sort of algorithm, different chefs do one of three courses. Each chef prepares 30 meals. There are six teams that serve all the courses. And each team changes the tables that it serves with each course.
I thought the burrata, a soft gooey sponge of lobster goodness was sublime, but my seating partner, Katarina Wolschner, the editor of German culinary magazine Rolling Pin
, pointed out that the plate and dish should have been warm and that was the case for another course, too, and she was not wrong. Sometimes at these grandee things they get so ambitious it is hard to deliver on every note. But I had no problem choking mine down.
The best thing about these international cooker fests is that you meet interesting people. Across from me, Alysia Casebeer wore an eye-catching jeweled dress she got in India. On my right American Elisabeth Armington had just returned from four years living in London to meet up with her English boyfriend, Benjamin Alderman, who works here. To thank her he gave her a ring, popped the question, and everyone at our table had another excuse to drink more of the six or seven different Pommery vintages passed throughout the night. (Cuvée Louise 1990 was my favorite. It was a very good year. It was, look it up.)