Chef André Natera, executive chef at Pyramid Restaurant, was inducted into the World Master Chefs Society (WMCS) last night during an intimate, 15-person dinner at Pyramid Restaurant in downtown Dallas’ Fairmont Hotel. Chef Shari Carlson, WMCS board member, pastry chef and owner of Dessert Dreams; Chef Morris Salerno, president of the WMCS USA Chapter and owner of Salerno’s restaurant; Chef Karl Haas, WMCS chapter founder and president emeritus; Chef Thomas Welther, WMCS board member and executive chef at Hilton Anatole; Chef Patrick Mitchell, WMCS board member; and Chef Natera’s wife, Linda, joined a handful of invited guests for a dinner designed by Chef Natera to commemorate his induction.
jump for the menu and some awesome food & ceremony pics…
“Many of the chefs who are here in this room have been my mentors for 10 years plus,” said Natera. “I’ve seen them in competitions; I’ve helped them out with fundraiser events. I’ve kind of been the gofer guy, running around and helping them wash dishes or whatever the case may be. So to finally have it recognized that I’ve matured as a chef and am ready to step up to the next level is a great honor. A lot of these people are father figures to me and have really helped me come up in the industry.”
The menu opened with a savory watercress and Yukon gold potato soup followed by a beet, raspberry, hazelnut, and blue cheese salad. Pyramid sommelier Hunter Hammett, who orchestrated the wine pairings for the evening, offered a Brennan Viognier, Comanche Texas, 2008.
For the fish course, Natera paired tender cod with a caper beurre blanc and topped it with a sweet tomato marmalade. The fish shared a plate with braised endive and was paired with a Domaine des Cassagnoles, Cotes de Gascogne, 2009.
After a pause to clear the palate with a spiced red wine sorbet, guests tucked into beef tenderloin with foie gras and celeriac puree. Hammett paired the course with a glass of Spelletich Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2004. The meal wrapped with chocolate ganache topped with marshmallow and paired with caramelized banana and pecan ice cream. The dessert wine: Haak Madeira, Gulf Coast Region of Texas, 2006.
Natera is the first new member inducted in two years. The board bases it’s admissions on a candidate’s level of participation and contribution, his or her professional accomplishments, and the candidate’s ability to bring a special something to the team, especially during international culinary competitions where this society frequently medals.
“I’m a humble person,” Natera noted, “so for me to be a part of this society, it means a lot. To me it shows my maturity in cooking and it shows I’ve fully gained the respect of people I admire and look up to.”