Side Dishes: Topnotch chef gears up
For chefs, being invited to prepare dinner at the James Beard House  in New York City is a great honor. In recent years, Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin of Woodstock’s Osteria Pane e Salute  have done it, twice. Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Woods  prepared a dish for a “gala event” put on by the JBF at Lincoln Center. On Tuesday, May 12, another Vermont chef will join the roster: Mark Timms of Norma’s  at Topnotch. “We’re showcasing Vermont products as much as we can,” he says. “We’re trying to get Vermont more visible.”
Although much of the menu reflects Timms’ interest in haute cuisine — rabbit terrine with caper berry ice cream, and potato-wrapped salmon with onion-pear marmalade, for example — the first hors d’oeuvre is christened “miniature Al’s burgers.”
Timms has another big event in the works, too. On August 22, Topnotch will host a “Rising Star Food & Wine Show”  to raise money for The Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger . Cuisiniers from Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta and Athens, Georgia, will fly in to cook alongside Timms, Warnstedt and a few more of Vermont’s brightest lights, including Steve Bogart of A Single Pebble , Sean Buchanan of Solstice , Michael Kloeti of Michael’s on the Hill  and Brian Tomlinson from Trapp Family Lodge .
Speaking of James Beard … on Sunday, the “media” prizes in the annual James Beard Awards were handed out and, as usual, Charlotte-based EatingWell  took one home. The journalism award for “Reporting on Nutrition or Nutrition Issues” went to Rachael Moeller Gorman for her meditation on foods that improve memory. The piece is entitled “How to Feed Your Mind.”