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Hegsted, Wandering Table travel east

Adam Hegsted (File)
Adam Hegsted (File)

Chef Adam Hegsted and his Wandering Table will be a bit far afield this summer.

Hegsted has been invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.

“It has been my dream since I started cooking,” Hegsted said.

The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit culinary arts organization based in James Beard’s former Greenwich Village townhouse. Beard was a food writer, teacher and cookbook author known as the “Dean of American Cookery.” The mission of the organization named for him is to “celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and future,” according to the foundation’s website.

The James Beard House invites chefs and culinary students from around the world to cook there. Tickets for a dinner there are $170 per person.

Hegsted applied to cook there several years ago while he was still the chef at Brix in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Hegsted is now the executive chef at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort in Worley. He guided the expansion of the resort’s restaurants including Hn’ya’(pqi’n’n (A Gathering Place) pub and the Ts’elusm Steakhouse.

He believes a recent award as innovator of the year at the Foodservice National Beef Backer award ceremony brought his work to the attention of the James Beard House.

Hegsted plans to showcase the Inland Northwest and its ingredients on his June 2 menu for the James Beard House. When he’s not at work at the resort, Hegsted and brother and sous chef Ryan Stoy host a traveling feast they call The Wandering Table. Guests sign up for the multi-course dinner, but the menu and location are sent to them at the last minute. They have served the meals in art galleries, gardens and on rooftop patios. Stoy will join Hegsted to cook at the James Beard House.

Hegsted said food served at the James Beard dinner will be something like the meals they have prepared for The Wandering Table. He’s planning quail with a rhubarb barbecue sauce, cold smoked Columbia River steelhead, forest mushrooms on a plate that will be decorated with an edible forest floor, dry-aged lamb and Idaho potato gnocchi with nettle pesto, and an Inland Northwest cheese plate. Dessert will include an assortment of berries from the area – huckleberries, serviceberries and elderberries – along with wild rose petals.

Hegsted said transporting his ingredients may be difficult.

“When chefs start cooking here they think that to be successful they need to go on to Portland or Seattle or something like that. I probably thought that when I first started. But I want to show people that they can stay here and be successful,” Hegsted said.

For links to our story about Hegsted’s moveable feast The Wandering Table and the Northwest Profiles show from PBS that features The Wandering Table, go to too-many-cooks/.

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