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Master & Protégé Reunion Festa at New Heights

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Chef Lorenzo Polgeri, owner of Zeppelin Restorante in Orvieto, Italy will be joining Executive Chef Logan Cox at New Heights Restaurant in Woodley Park to prepare a meal on January 28th. Chef Cox studied under Chef Lorenzo in Italy and gave Cox a new passion for his profession and a greater appreciation for fresh, local products. It is expected that each chef will prepare two courses. P.S I'm Logan's Dad

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That sounds interesting! Will watch for more information. ( I spent one night in Orvieto in October, but did not eat at Chef Polgeri's restaurant.)


One night only, Thursday, 1/28/2010, Master Chef Lorenzo Polegri, the Mentor and Inspiration to New Heights’ Executive Chef Logan Cox, travels from his legendary Ristorante Zeppelin in Orvieto, Italy to reunite with his heralded American protégé in New Heights’ kitchen.

1/28/2010, the two chefs cook side-by-side dishing up an original 4 course Italian-inspired feast with cutting-edge hors d’oeuvres and appetizers you’d otherwise find only at Lorenzo’s ristorante in Orvieto. For example, a crusty chestnut and raisin bread crostini with duck liver pate. Or a piquant Lamb ragout Pasticcio with arugola and hazelnut winter pesto, braised radicchio and orange zest.


Lorenzo Polegri, besides being an acclaimed Italian Master Chef, is a larger-than-life, epicure and bon vivant from Orvieto, Italy, famous for his booming, infectious “Ciao!” (For a “Ciao” sample, see this video on YouTube). Lorenzo is the chef/owner of Zeppelin and the Instituto di Arte Culinaria Marchesa Adele Viti. A self-taught chef, Lorenzo first managed his family’s farm and vineyard. Growing up in an environment richly infused with the historical cuisine and agricultural traditions of Italy inspired Lorenzo to trade in his white dress shirt for a Chef’s Coat with natty black piping. Chef Polegri took Logan Cox under wing when the young American traveled to Orvieto looking to study provincial Italian cooking.

Chef Cox and New Height’s Pastry Chef Yasmine Sandhu plan equally ingenious, savory dishes. Cox plates up the entrée, a rich, lemon-scented Escolar with smooth, textured cauliflower custard. And Sandhu answers with a nutty, seasonal frozen Chestnut Mousse Bombe with Glaceed Fruit for dessert.

The celebration of this rare collaborazione between the Italian mentor and his American prodigy culminates in a 4 course dinner with wine pairings beginning at 6:30 PM. The cost for this event is $85 per person.

Make your reservations now for the Polegri/Cox gastronomic reunion festa. Reserve by phone at 202-234-4110 or online at www.newheightsrestaurant.com


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That sounds interesting! Will watch for more information. ( I spent one night in Orvieto in October, but did not eat at Chef Polgeri's restaurant.)

On several occasions my son and wife, my daughter and husband and my wife and I have eaten in Orvieto at Chef Lorenzo's restorante. It was a wonderful experience and Chef Lorenzo is a very charismatic person. We have already reserved 14 seats for the event. Greg Cox

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The first in a winter line up of New Heights' special events has met with great success. The January 28th MASTER & PROTÉGÉ REUNION FESTA (Master Italian Chef Lorenzo Polegri cooking side-by-side with his American protégé New Heights' Executive Chef Logan Cox) sold out in less than a week and now paves the way for other equally sensational gastronomic events on the New Heights' calendar. With two special events being considered for February and others later, don't miss out again! Please send us your e-mail address so that you can be among the first to know about these upcoming, popular dinners.

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Some events are celebrations. Some events are revelations. The New Heights Master & Protégé Reunion Festa defined both. Not a KMango of many sentimental meanderings, I feel deeply fortunate to have participated in this Umbrian evening.

Upon arrival, I was struck by warm greetings and friendly conversation of diverse guests from New Height’s 24-year history. This was a sold-out gathering of almost 80 members from what seemed to be the restaurant’s extended family. Reunion was the perfect metaphor. If not for the early event posting on the DR website, I would have missed out on this entirely.

Tableside hors d'oeuvres included Duck Liver Pate on chestnut-raisin bread crostini with sage and balsamic vinegar; Cornmeal and Rosemary Foccacia with gorgonzola mousse, chives, and lemon zest; Pizzette with olives sausage and scamorza; and Umbrian Pecorino Cheese graced with chestnut, warmed honey, and walnuts. The pop-off-the-flavor-charts standout was the foccacia. Chef Logan’s gift for working with grains manifests beautifully in a creation such as this. Crunch from the impossibly thin cornmeal crust, tang from gorgonzola, herbal zing, with a brace of lemon from expertly peeled zest, this was *the* perfect bite. Visual interest delivered as well, with chives and lemon contrasting pale mousse on long, diamond-cut morsels. Prosecco and Orvieto Classico accompanied the entire parade of appetizer treasures.

After a gracious introduction by the ever-graceful Kavita, Chefs Lorenzo Polgeri and Logan Cox began the dinner by each saying a few words. The Chefs’ festive and playful tone set the backdrop for a celebratory evening. Their deeply mutual respect radiated to the room via quick smiles and knowing teases to each other. Almost as if a starting gun announced the beginning of a culinary race, they darted back to the kitchen to let the games begin.

Ron Brooks (consultant with Winebow) followed their remarks with an expert and passionate overview of the Proseco, Orvieto Classico, Montepulciano, Rosso, and Falesco selections of the evening. I was struck by Ron’s ability to help the diners understand what he called “Dionne Warwick wines---the ones you normally walk on by in your wine store”. In a space as large as New Heights, it would have been easy to lose track of his voice. Instead, his remarkable public speaking skills carried his deep knowledge to the ears of all diners. Ron’s passion, insights, and conversationally agile visits with every table throughout the meal further enhanced what was already an exceptional dining experience. If you plan to host a large-scale wine tasting event anytime soon, this would be the fellow to book.

The first course nearly bowled me out of my chair with masterful execution. Farro and Porcini Mushroom Timbale arrived in a bath of softly green parsley-parmesan sauce, the small tower draped with red wine caramelized onions. This risotto was simply one of the best I have ever had, especially featuring this grain. I cannot emphasize enough the idealness of the texture, mesmerizing perfection. Flavor balance and complement were also spot on, satisfying the palate yet intensifying desire for the next bite. The dish also arrived perfectly warm, stunning considering the number of diners. If I could eat grains like this every day, I would probably be well on my way to forsaking most other food groups.

The second course brought Lamb Ragout “Pasticcio” in a hazelnut-arugula pesto, braised radicchio, and orange zest. I was honestly still so love with the first dish, I think I was not fully experiencing this second course. About halfway through, I snapped out of it and fell in love again.

The main course showcased Lemon-Scented Escolar with cauliflower custard, braised radishes, chiles and roasted anchovy puree. Again, with the perfect temperature it arrived, changing my perception about what is possible for delivering to a group this large. Outstanding sear on the fish, and not a degree overcooked, was further enhanced by remarkable complementing components.

Dessert ended on a high note, even for New Heights. The Chestnut Bombe, whipped chestnuts surrounding bittersweet chocolate, painted with chestnut honey, dotted with shortbread crumble, and punctuated with a pear chip provided a thematically integrated and expertly executed finale.

Wines paired with every course, special standouts including Lazio-born superstars of 2006 Falesco Ferentano, which aligned gorgeously with the escolar, and the 2008 Aleatico Pomele Rosso Dolce with dessert. The chocolate in the chestnut bombe and the Rosso really hit it off, I almost felt like I should have booked them a room or something. Bashir Yonoszai of Paul’s Wine and Spirits made five of the six wines available for purchase to the diners. Discount prices ranging from $12.99 to $26.99 appeared on an order form appended to the menu.

Expertly executed service never winced, much less hiccuped, the entire evening. We were also fortunate to have a window-adjacent table revealing the entertaining cityscape below.

The event ended with outrageous volumes of applause and a few more words from Chefs Polgeri and Cox. The most cherished was Chef Polgeri’s closing remark to “see you next year”. If DC is ever graced by a command performance of Reunion Festa, sign up immediately and take along someone special. You will enjoy an intimate evening with exquisite cuisine from profoundly gifted chefs, a uniquely celebratory atmosphere, pick up a few knowledge gems, and cash in “wows” from your memory bank for years to come.

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