Dine With Design @ The Glass House: Chef Update

The second annual Dine with Design will happen June 9, 2012, on the magnificent and incomparable grounds of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan. With the tremendous success of prior year’s food presentations, the afternoon will again feature incredible tasting menus designed and prepared by some of the most renowned and respected chefs in America. Several of the chefs are featured in Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer’s cookbook, Harvest to Heat and this year’s day and evening lineup will create one of the most delicious culinary experiences of the season.

The participating chefs include three locals, Jeremy McMillan from The Farmhouse Restaurant at The Bedford Post Inn, Frederic Kieffer from Artisan in Southport, and Tim LaBant from The Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton; two chefs from Cambridge, MA, Tony Maws from Craigie on Main and Ana Sortun from Oleana; plus Missy Robbins from A Voce in New York City and Gabriel Rucker from Le Pigeon in Portland, OR. The last two of the featured chefs, Missy Robbins and Gabriel Rucker present two vastly different paths up the culinary ladder and as well as approaches in their current restaurants. 

Chef Missy Robbins is celebrated for her modern interpretation of traditional Italian cuisine at her two New York City restaurants, A Voce Restaurant and A Voce Columbus. She traces her love for the culinary arts to her parents, who always instilled a craving for both travel and food. During her senior year at Georgetown University, she entered the kitchen of the legendary restaurant 1789 for the first time that she found her calling. On only her second weekend she found herself alone, with limited knife skills, preparing salads for the 250 anticipated guests. She subsequently started her formal culinary education at Peter Kump’s Cooking School in New York where she met and eventually worked for Chef Wayne Nish, the chef of March restaurant who became an inspiration in many of Chef Robbins culinary interpretations. Over the next ten years she nurtured relationships with several of New York’s most respected chefs including Anne Rosenzweig at Arcadi, who was instrumental in molding Chef Robbins culinary views. Her passion for Italian cuisine matured during a three year exploration through Northern Italy and upon her return she became the sous chef and then the chef de cuisine at the boutique SoHo Grand Hotel. In 2003 she moved to Chicago and eventually rose to the Executive Chef position at Spiaggia in Chicago, one of the few four-star Italian restaurants in the US. After a brilliant five years in Chicago, Chef Robbins returned to her New York culinary roots and joined A Voce in New York, where she has created incredible Italian cuisine for the last nine years. Her cuisine is traditional with a modern twist as seen in many of her current menu offerings including spinach and sweetbread filled pasta with fennel, pecorino, and garlic; gorgonzola gnocchi with apples, and smoked walnuts; olive oil poached hake with meyer lemon, puntarelle, yukon gold potatoes, plus bottarga; hanger steak with asparagus, bagna vert, pecorino, marrow, egg, and a rosemary; and lastly a lemon marinated chicken, broccoli rabe, salmoriglio, and pine nuts.

Chef Gabriel Rucker is incredibly excited about his participation at Dine with Design. He was originally scheduled as one of the inaugural chefs last year, but he postponed his attendance to stay at home for the delivery of his first son and he beamed as he spoke affectionately about this great day and the last year. He is best described as one of the new breed of “renegade” self-taught chefs and his rise through the culinary world followed a non-traditional path. He realized his intense passion for the culinary arts during his first semester in college and, with his parents’ support, he left school and devoted his full focus to creating incredibly exciting and creative cuisine. When we spoke he explained that the inspiration for dishes come from everywhere, “from an ice cream at Dairy Queen, to reading the French Laundry Cookbook, to the people in the kitchen.” His extraordinary talents were eventually recognized in 2011 when he was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Rising Chef of the Year Award. As the current owner of two outstanding restaurants in Portland, Oregon, Le Pigeon and Little Bird, Chef Rucker is quick to credit his parents and colleagues for his success. His culinary career started as the “graveyard shift” bagel maker in the Napa Valley. In 2003, Chef Rucker moved to Portland, Oregon, taking a position in the kitchen of chef-icon Vitaly Paley’s Paley’s Place and subsequently assumed the role of the sous chef at The Gotham Building Tavern, where he met Chef Tommy Habetz, and the future chef of Little Bird, Chef Erik Van Kley. Current offerings at Le Pigeon include several combinations that are incredibly unique while his less “formal” restaurant, Little Bird, presents a more traditional approach to his food and Chef Rucker credits the vision and success of Little Bird to his colleagues who oversee the restaurant’s current menu. The menu at Le Pigeon shows an incredible and creative focus on the construction of the cuisine and guests at Dine with Design will enjoy dishes prepared by both Chef Rucker as well as Chef Van Kley, who will accompany Rucker to Connecticut. As Chef Rucker looks to the future he describes his next ten years as “constantly improving the product, keep pushing and be the best I can be.” 

Chef Rucker's Dine with Design menu currently include:

Lamb-belly BLT on simply grilled white bread, romaine lettuce and tomato

Thickly sliced beef Carpaccio with truffle vinaigrette topped with trout and truffle caviars

Foie Gras Profiteroles with Caramel Sauce and Sea Salt, his signature dessert from Le Pigeon.

Tickets for the afternoon picnic are available from the Glass House at: