Jay Denham

Denham heading up Heritage Pork Feast Thursday at Beard House

You likely remember Jay Denham as the executive chef at Park Place several years ago. Since that business closed, he’s become a master charcutier and now partner in Woodlands Pork (in West Va.) and The Cure House, an artisan ham producer, in Louisville.

But he’s not hung up his chef’s coat for good: he’s one of five tall toques cooking an Aug. 8 Heritage Pork Feast at the James Beard House Thursday in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

The idea for the dinner was born when Denham invited several chefs to Woodland’s Black Oak Holler Farm to see the heritage breed hogs raised there (pigs destined for The Cure House). It didn’t take long before the chefs thought a team effort at the Beard House centered just on Woodlands Pork products, would be fun.

Denham, who will prepare a charcuterie course, will be joined by chef Ben Del Coro (Fossil Farms, Boonton, N.J.), chef and master sommelier Steve Geddes (Local 127, Cincinnati), chef Ian Kapitan (The Precinct, Cincinnati), chef Chris Leahy (Lexington Brass, New York) and chef Adam Sobel (RN74, San Francisco).

Thus far, the group has used telephone calls and emails to construct their menu, but the night before their big dinner—and it is big, as you can see in the partial menu below—the group will discuss a run-through of the meal over a whole roasted pig—at DBGB Kitchen and Bar, one of several restaurants owned by star chef Daniel Bolud.

Denham told me some time ago he’d love to get back into the restaurant business with a “meat and three” cafeteria, but for now he’s happy to have a short-term cooking fix like this one.

“Chefs just like cooking with other chefs they haven’t worked with before,” he said. Not only is he trying to stay sane overseeing businesses in different states, he’s getting married this month. “Sharing techniques and sharing stories is a lot of what goes on. I’m really looking forward to it.”

In case you’re curious about whether you could get a seat at the dinner, as of early Monday morning there were some left. Whether an airline has any seats left on such short notice is another story!

Hors d’oeuvre

  • Smoked Corn Custard with Lardo
  • Piggy Croquettes with Sauce Gribiche
  • Woodlands Pork Truffled Potato Dauphinoise
  • Roasted Beets with Woodlands Pork Back Bacon and Red Wine Syrup
  • Woodlands Pork Cured Meat Board with Kentucky Cheeses, Pickles, Bread, and Bourbon Pairing

Dinner

  • Soy and Coriander–Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Bell Pepper Kimchi
  • Woodlands Pork Coppa–Wrapped Monkfish with Grilled Peaches, Toasted Almonds, and Basil Broth
  • Woodlands Pork Porchetta di Testa with Aged Mountain Ham, Union Square Greenmarket Vegetable Succotash, and Port Reduction
  • Pork ‘n’ Beans, Country Pork Plate with Heirloom Beans and Summer Greens
  • Porchetta with Heirloom Tomato Relish and Roasted Poblano Pesto
  • Bacon Churros with Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce

To read more about Jay, check out our article on the The Ham Belt from our Winter 2012 issue.