A Conversation With Chef Ivy Magruder About Panorama's Upcoming Art at the Table

 In Food
Chef Ivy Magruder preparing food for last month's Art at the Table. Image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Chef Ivy Magruder preparing food for last month’s Art at the Table. Image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Next week, Panorama will host the second installment of Art at the Table, a monthly multi-course dinner series that offers diners an exclusive, after-hours tour of the museum and the chance to enjoy a memorable menu. Last month diners enjoyed a four-course beer dinner featuring Schlafly brews. The next dinner will be held Friday, Oct. 24 and will take diners on a world tour of whiskey. Here’s what executive chef Ivy Magruder had to say about the upcoming “Whiskeys of the World: A Celebration of Art, Food and Whiskey” when he had a chance to chat with The Dish.

ALIVE: What sort of challenges do chefs face when working on a menu that’s going to be paired with whiskeys? 

Ivy Magruder: Whiskey is very subtle, so in order to create a menu like this you really have pay attention. We came at this menu with a completely open mind and started by tasting lots of different whiskeys, ryes and scotches. Afterwards we brainstormed which flavors we thought would best complement the subtleties we were identifying—whether it was smoke, citrus, sweet, etc. Once we had that figured out, we paired a flavor or two in each course that would enhance the overall profile of the whiskey.

ALIVE: Given your past experiences as corporate executive chef at Gamlin Whiskey House, do you have a favorite “food-friendly” whiskey?  

IM: The Gamlin Restaurant Group really allowed me the opportunity to learn and expand my palate, which makes creating a pairing menu like this at Panorama that much easier and more fun.  If I had to pick one though, my personal favorite these days is Four Roses 2013 Limited Edition Small Batch.

ALIVE: Is there a course in particular that you’re excited about diners tasting?

IM: I think this menu really offers a ‘tour’ of whiskey, so I’m looking forward to seeing how guests respond to each dish. Whiskey is actually pretty similar to wine, in that the rules have changed with pairing menus over the years. For example, you no longer ‘have’ to order red wine with meat, or white wine with fish. There is no right answer, you just go with what tastes best. I think we hit the perfect balance of creating dishes that both complement the whiskey, and are delicious in their own right.

ALIVE: What about that lineup of candies for the final course? 

IM: Dishes don’t have to be complex to be done right. I think that’s why so many people have incredible memories of their grandmother’s cooking. Grandmothers didn’t over-complicate things, they just kept dishes focused on what would taste good. That’s what we did with the dessert—we kept it simple and will let the flavors speak for themselves. And in the end, we think it will be the perfect note for guests to end the evening on.

Check out the full, four-course menu online.

Diners are invited to gather at the Museum’s East Building at 7pm for a docent-led tour of the galleries. At 7:30pm, guests will be seated. Dinner is $55 per person and reservations can be made by calling 314.655.5490. One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park.  

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