*Neuehouse dinner photo credit: Rasha Mosa for NeueHouse
This past week I had the pleasure of working with chef Mark Pollard of Neuehouse Hollywood, to transform buckets of museum grown herbs and greens into a feast for friends and supporters of The Getty Salad Garden project. Returning to L.A. after a month in New York, I was shocked to see garden had gone all Little Shop of Horrors on me (proof that excellent soil and heirloom seeds, a garden do make). The boxes are brimming with produce, and it was giving me an anxiety attack. In an effort to make the most of the waning days of the project and all this food, Chef Mark and I hit the garden hard, grabbing massive bundles of ruby streaked mustard, nasturtium flowers, microgreens, tatsoi, anything and everything that would fit in the trunk of his car.
Back at the ranch, chef’s team went to town washing and spinning, preparing an ambitious meal. They even let me wear one of their chic chef’s coats, as I tried to stay out of the way and pick the leaves off dozens of herb varieties. Our menu was meant to highlight the produce — wild striped bass with scattered bronze fennel, sautéed mustard greens served with Persian basil yogurt, caviar and fava blossoms on brown rice belinis, followed by a most theatrical presentation of salad.
Halfway through our meal, massive Moroccan platters descended onto our never-ending table, and we taught our guests how to lightly dress their precious greens with golden oregano infused verjus (a pressing of green grapes, milder than vinegar but tart and acidic), avocado oil, sea salt and a bevy of delicate flowers and herbs. Guests, some Neuehouse members, artists, friends and formers subjects of Salad For President, shmoozed and threw back cocktails made from lovage and chamomile greens, designed by my #1 dude, Arley Marks.
It was a perfect evening, thanks to Meredith Rogers, Director of Cultural Programming, and Chef Mark Pollard, and all the talented artists who gave their time, energy and recipes to this project.