I attended last night's Food for Thought tasting at Bristol Brewing Co., described below.
But before I get to talking about Blue Star chef de cuisine Andrew Sherrill's savory eats and Blue Star pastry chef Alicia Prescott's dessert plate, a little news on the Ivywild project and some surprise changes at the Blue Star.
First, the reason Andrew Sherrill provided last night's eats was because after only six months, Daniel Gerson and the Blue Star parted ways last Friday.
As indicated in my May review of the outfit, not everything was running smoothly under Gerson, but after the lengthy search process that brought him here, many of us assumed that the menu would eventually find the right balance at his hands.
Blue Star owner Joe Coleman magnanimously had only positive things to say to me about Gerson as a person and a chef when we discussed Gerson's departure Monday night. But it was clear in that discussion that Gerson simply wasn't the right fit for the Blue Star, which like all restaurant kitchens has its particular quirks, challenges and a "crazy owner" in Coleman's words.
Sherrill, who's been with the outfit for five-plus years, has resumed the leadership role in the kitchen for the time being. We'll keep you posted when we hear whether another head chef search will be launched, or whether Sherrill will perhaps finally be tapped to move up.
As for the Ivywild project, everything's chugging along according to plan, says Mike Bristol, and the partnership could close on the building as early as September, but possibly as late as October or beyond.
Certain design features are having to be reworked around budget concerns, he says, and the planned greenhouse will likely have to be a phase-two addition after the initial bakery and brewery are opened.
Now, on to last night's dinner: As I said below, the meal was sort of a focus group, where guests were given pen and paper to make notes on the food as well as the food/beer pairing. Bristol beerocrat Laura Long and I discovered some additional beer pairings that worked well, including Black Fox Brewing Co.'s Don't Call Me Wit beer, whose light Belgian body worked beautifully with the courses' sweet whitebreads.
Bristol, Coleman and crew say they'll take this gathered criticism to heart when designing their tasting room menus once the move's been made across the street.
Here's some photos with course descriptions.
——- ORIGINAL POST, 4:29 P.M., MONDAY, JULY 11 ——-
We reported this time last year on a collaborative project to turn the old Ivywild Elementary School into a bakery as well as a brewery and greenhouse operation.
But before Bristol Brewing Co. and the Blue Star's baking outfit set up shop — and other community groups such as Pikes Peak Urban Gardens begin tending a greenhouse and gardens on the site — those involved in the project want your feedback.
One way in which you can participate is to visit The Old School Bakery's Facebook page, where you'll find info on tasting days and a Tasty Pastry Card that'll get you items like a white cake with raspberry filling and lemon buttercream or teacake lollipops dipped in white chocolate. (For sale at the Blue Star.)
Executive pastry chef Alicia Prescott and team are asking for feedback on these creations that they can take to heart before the move.
A second way to partake is with Bristol Brewing Co.'s Food for Thought series, which is sold out for tonight, but still open from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 25 as well as Aug. 8 and 22.
A $20 entry gets you Bristol beer samples paired with small plates prepared by Blue Star chef Daniel Gerson.
After tasting, you're invited to critique the food and let the staffs know what you do and don't like. Think of it as paying (versus being paid) to be part of a focus group. But hey, at least there's beer involved.