Dallas may not have the acumen to appreciate her food yet, but James Beard does. Najat Kaanache, former chef for the now-closed Private Social, will cook at the James Beard House on July 23.
Kaanache will prepare a six-course meal preceded by a trio of appetizers. She and her business partner, Charles Accivatti, will be joined by her Dallas team, including sous chef Matt Medling, chef de partie Rob Schofield, pastry chef Colin Zug-Moore and tournant apprentice Kelsie Melaas.
"With her keen eye for presentation and masterful ability to engage all the senses, Kaanache brings a playful twist to haute cuisine," reads the Beard House website.
"We were invited in May when we went up for the World Science Festival," Kaanache says. "They told us that we could pick whatever day we wanted. When I knew the date, I went back to my kitchen and told the chefs. For the past two months, each chef has been putting aside small savings for the airfare. They paid their own way. I had no idea what was happening with the restaurant, but I knew this would be an exciting opportunity."
When cooking at the Beard House, chef teams are usually required to find another kitchen for their preparation, but Kaanache's team gets the run of the house. "The Beard House is closed on Monday [July 22], so that gives us all day to prepare," she says.
The Beard House website is lavish in its praise of Kaanache, saying, that "it's no surprise that Dallas restaurant P|S became a culinary sensation after Najat Kaanache took the helm; the superstar chef had trained at Noma, Per Se, El Bullí, Alinea and the French Laundry. With her keen eye for presentation and masterful ability to engage all the senses, Kaanache brings a playful twist to haute cuisine."
The event is already sold out. Her menu is as follows:
- Cured Basque Pyrenees Mountain salmon with house-made bagels and cream cheese
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Caprese > fried tiger prawns with Caprese salad eElements
- Frida Goes to Fez > colorful roasted vegetables with Moroccan flavors
- Sensory Bill of Rights > 10 inalienable flavor sensations
- The Turtle Pond Freezes Over > A Midsummer Night’s heirloom tomato gazpacho
- Hobbit’s Halibut > seared halibut on the shire with Farmer Lee’s vegetable mousses
- Edible Dalí > taste transmuted into art
- It Takes a Party Fowl to Run Afoul of French Law > filet mignon and duck breast with duck confit bisteeya and duck liver mousse
- An Apple Walks into the Genius Bar > study of apple flavors and textures