Date Night Extra: Popup Dinner With Chef Ed Harris

What do you do when you get invited to a popup dinner with a “Chopped” winner? You accept, of course! Chef Ed Harris won an episode of “Chopped” back in 2010. Since then he’s become a family man, and the hours that he must put in at a restaurant are not the best for raising a family. His solution: become a restaurant consultant, a private chef, and once a month stage a popup dinner at venues throughout Atlanta.
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Tonight’s venue is The Preserving Place, which is located in the Westside Provisions district.
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The Preserving Place will teach you how to make your own jelly or pickle your own veggies. It’s easier for us to just buy them.
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They also have a full kitchen, which as we shall see, gets perfectly utilized by Chef Harris.
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We are joined tonight by members of the Association of Food Bloggers, who are lucky enough to get invited to events like this.
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We start with two amuse bouches. The first is a fruit salad with a hint of chili.
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Check this one out. It’s salmon tartare with scallions and soy. It puts a whole different spin on sushi.
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Chef Harris takes a light-hearted approach to our first course, watermelon in a ginger soy sauce.
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Look at all of the different flavors here: the melon, which soaks up the sauce, mozzarella cheese, and wait–are those pink things pop rocks? Actually, they are. This is a fun summer dish that literally explodes in your mouth.

Our next course is Boston lettuce topped with some of the most tender beef tenderloin we have ever eaten.
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I could have made an entire meal out of this dish, and when my date offers me more, I quickly snap it up.

Here’s the chef’s take on ratatouille. Imagine the work that went into this dish.
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Layers of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and smoked olives sit atop a slice of bread. This dish wins on presentation alone, but it does taste as good as it looks.

Let’s pause a second to give some props to Chef Ed’s assistant for the evening.
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Chef Jamarius Banks is working just as hard as Chef Harris. It’s amazing to watch these guys at work, and it’s easy to see how talented they are with food.

I wish I could make tofu this good. The soybean curd sits atop three different kinds of baby carrots and fruit.
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It’s all tossed in Chef Harris’ own XO sauce, which he models after the Chinese sauce that was invented in Hong Kong. Again, a beautiful dish to look at and to eat.

Chef Harris takes a rack of lamb from the oven to let it stand.
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He could serve it just like it is, but he has more work to do on it.
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He adds layers of English peas and panko bread crumbs. The lamb is cooked rare and does not taste of lamb at all. It’s more like a good steak. The chef has a way with meats. That’s Israeli couscous served with the lamb.

Dessert is simple, yet full of layers of texture and taste. Cooked bananas are topped with earl grey whipped cream, crushed nuts and tapioca.
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It’s soft, chewy, crunchy and creamy all at the same time. Again we watch as the chefs painstakingly put the layers together. Tonight, these guys are the hardest working duo in the food business.
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The bottom line on Chef Ed Harris: The chef will be appearing soon on “Iron Chef”, giving him a chance to be one of the few people to win “Chopped” and “Iron Chef” during his career. If you can attend one of his dinners, jump at the chance. Or have him come and prepare a dinner at your home. You can find out where he will be cooking at chefedharris.com. We think you will really enjoy the food.

Disclaimer: Because this was a media event organized by the always-charming Malika Bowling of the Atlanta Restaurant Blog, Date Night did not pay for our meals. Our words, however, are priceless and are all ours.

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