At CH Prime, In With the New, In With the Old
By Terry Baxter, Member Since 2002
I hope you read last week’s article by Mary Brady introducing Shelby Confer as the new Chef de Cuisine at CH Prime. This week was a seminal moment as nightly service began at CH Prime. I first noticed Chef Shelby five or six years ago when she led her team to win the cook off competition at the Associates’ end-of-season celebration. I have enjoyed her talents over the ensuing years at the Cooking School and the specialty dinners featuring Scotch, Bourbon, and innovative menus to match. Then, she sealed the deal with her offering of pierogies at this year’s “Gathering” (more in a moment). A showstopper. Chef Philippe Reynaud, our Senior Director of Culinary Operations, calls her “a shooting star,” and I agree.
As I sat down opening night, I was delighted to find those delicious pierogies on the all-new CH Prime menu. Pierogies are savory dumplings typically boiled, then sautéed in butter. Originally peasant fare native to Central and Eastern Europe, they have become cultural icons and considered national dishes. At the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland, 30,000 are consumed daily. They are a staple in Pennsylvania where Shelby grew up. Her ethereal version features caramelized onions, house smoked kielbasa (!), beer cheese sauce, and pickled mustard seeds. My new favorite appetizer.
Opening night, Associates seemed as excited as the anticipatory Members. It was a pleasure to find familiar faces along with eager young recruits. Mark and Philippe confidently run the show. Casey anchors the bar and Britt charms at the piano. Two of our best waiters from last year, Todd and Bernard, returned to lead the wait staff. The prized Linz steaks are still the star of the show, but the other selections seem more numerous than before: yellowtail, black cod, king salmon, lobster pot pie, lavender smoked hen, Jurgelwicz duck breast, individual beef Wellington, Moroccan braised lamb shank, mushroom barley risotto, and roasted cauliflower Cacio E Pepe. Fair Patricia had the lobster pot pie and loved it.
Manager Mark Rey said the entire menu is essentially new. Chef Shelby spent the summer perfecting it. Mark said, “Chef took traditional dishes and raised the elegance.” For instance he pointed to the crispy skin-on Ora King salmon, which is served with a purple cauliflower puree. The recipe called for a few drops of lemon juice. Chef Shelby noticed when she added the lemon, the purple puree turned pink. She decided to share the experience with the Members, and squeezes the lemon tableside to enhance the show. Bravo.
I can’t wait to explore more of Shelby’s CH Prime creations, but she had me at “pierogies.”