Stars and Stripes at the Sheraton – Or: Chef Spencer for President


Wine dinners seem to be the flavor of the month, with just about every significant hotel property hosting one, with sometimes two wine dinners on the same evening, showing there is a lack of communication somewhere in this competitive field.

However, these wine dinners can vary quite dramatically, with the presentation ranging from the formal, through to something innovative.  And it was the latter variety that was held at the Sheraton Pattaya Resort two weeks ago.  With the dinner date falling on July 5th, the day after American Independence Day, Chef Spencer Kells realized that with the international time difference, July 5 in Pattaya was still July 4 in the USA, so it became the July 4th on the 5th wine dinner, with the Fetzer wines featured from California.

The Sheraton staff under GM Tomo got behind it and the stars and stripes were everywhere as décor and American music was playing.  However, Chef Spencer then dreamed up an incredible Yankee Doodle menu with the first course being the Star Spangled “Mac’N’Cheese” which was actually lobster, farfalle pasta, mascarpone cheese and lobster oil.  And it was a great start to the dinner, accompanied by the Fetzer Sundial 2010 Chardonnay, a very light wine to start the liquid side of the evening.

Second course was so American it produced guffaws of appreciation.  This was the Burger, Dog and Shake, being a rib eye slider filled with braised beef short rib and foie gras, plus the Hot Dog rolled in truffle oil and porcini powder with truffle mayonnaise and a Zinfandel shake with cherry, chocolate and vanilla bean ice cream.  To keep the US flag flying, the wine with this was the Fetzer Valley Oaks 2010 Zinfandel, a very easy on the palate wine.

Third course and could Chef Spencer continue the Americana?  Of course he could (sorry about the pun) and presented us with Liberty Duck, a pulled duck filled corn pancake, BBQ habanero and smoked red pepper sauce.  This was taken with a very smooth Fetzer Eagle Peak 2010 Merlot, another smooth wine.

And so to the finale – called the Declaration of Meatiness featuring buttermilk chicken, fried quail plus country style Kurobata pork belly and a spice crusted Black Angus New York Strip.

The wine for this was the Fetzer Valley Oaks 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, a medium bodied wine that was well matched to the meats.

Ross Edward Marks, the representative of the wine importer, also pointed out that these were very affordable price range wines, and available from Tops and similar outlets.  Well worth looking for.

The dessert was as American as apple pie, and was, you guessed it, apple pie, taken with a great port fortified with Zinfandel.

A sensational wine dinner. Congratulations Sheraton, you did it again!  When is the next one?  We’ll be there!

Ya’ll have a good time now, ya’ hear!

Stars and Stripes at the Sheraton – Or: Chef Spencer for President