Special china and flatware are being brought from Albuquerque, N.M. Fancy tablecloths, wine and candles will appear on tables, and live music will set the scene for Montezumas Table, a progressive gourmet dinner benefitting The NEST Child Advocacy Center.
Executive chefs Brandon Shubert of Stonefish Sushi & More, and Pete Montano and Luke Hubbard of Pepperhead Restaurant are collaborating on the moveable gourmet feast for patrons of the culinary arts a first for Cortez, according to Pete Montanos daughter, Tess Montano.
Weve never heard of anyone getting together to do a progressive dinner on Main Street ever, so thats what kind of sparked the idea, said Tess Montano, co-owner of Pepperhead with her father, Pete.
Brandon (Shubert) from Stonefish was down (at Pepperhead) having lunch one day, and we just got to talking about what would be fun to do because its winter and theres not much happening in Cortez, she said. One thing weve always wanted to do is a progressive dinner, and we thought Well heck, why not?
The five-course seated dining experience will begin with appetizers and select wines at 5 p.m. in the vacant space at 34 W. Main St., then guests will move east down the block at 6:30 p.m. to Stonefish Sushi & More for courses two and three. The two entrees and side dishes there will include chili seared scallops, carpachio, ratatouille timbali and butternut soup. A sommelier will be on hand to pair wines with each food. At 7:30 p.m. the gourmet dinner will move to Pepperhead for the final entree. Elk loin roast chops in pinot noir balsamic reduction and a Spanish flamenco roll recipe combining Cajun ham and asparagus will be followed by dessert.
The menu for the progressive dinner took hours of collaboration between the chefs. Shubert said they have been meeting every week for the past six weeks to lay out the details.
We tried to figure out what to do to kind of flex our muscles a little bit when it comes to creativity, Shubert said.
You know when youre in your own business you do the same thing all the time, so weve got to break out of our shell a little bit and show what we can do and have some fun as chefs, too, he said.
Pete Montano said the dinner is an opportunity for residents to open the door to other tastes.
We wanted to expose Cortez to some other items that they probably havent heard of, or maybe only tasted in far away places, he said.
Rose Jergens is executive director of The NEST, which provides a safe, child-friendly environment that eases the emotional trauma experienced by children during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. The NEST has been serving child victims of abuse and their nonoffending family members in Cortez since 1992.
Jergens, in a prepared statement, said she is excited about the opportunity to open a new base of supporters.
The idea of connecting a culinary feast to benefit child advocacy will open the possibility of educating and reaching a different group of supporters, Jergens stated. We provide a nurturing environment for safe transitions as we begin to replenish abused children whose childhood has been robbed.
It is a perfect benefit for us. We are looking forward to the grace of the evening.
Tess Montano and her father, Pete, have both served on the board of directors for The NEST. This is Tess first year on the board, and when the progressive dinner idea came up it was obvious where they wanted proceeds to go.
Its all for the children, she said. What we wanted to do was create a benefit experience. I think weve all been raffled and silent auctioned to death, so we wanted to do something fun and exciting. Theres no tipping, nothing extra to buy. And if it goes really well, well do it again next year.
What about those who may cringe at the $100 price tag per plate?
Hey, were not talking a spaghetti dinner here, Tess said with a laugh.
Tickets are available at Pepperhead, 44 W. Main, 565-3303 or Stonefish Sushi & More, 16 W. Main, 565-9244.
Reach Paula Bostrom at firstname.lastname@example.org.