Matt Selby gets called to Washington DC to cook for the Taste of America gala

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Lori Midson
On Monday, February 22, Matt Selby, executive chef of Steuben's and Vesta Dipping Grill, will join 15 of the nation's top chefs and mixologists in Washington DC, as part of the Share Our Strength contingent at the Democratic Governor's Association conference. Selby, who is the chef chair for Denver's own annual Share Our Strength event, which raises funds to end childhood hunger, is cooking at the Taste of America gala. "While I'd like to think that I was selected because I'm as talented and well known as the other chefs invited, I know the truth is that they really just needed a class clown to keep everybody laughing," jokes Selby, who will recreate his madras venison loin with oyster mushrooms and pommes frites, a mainstay on Vesta's menu.

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On a more serious note, explains Selby, Colorado was recently tapped as a pilot state to end childhood hunger. The partnership, says Selby, of Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, the Colorado Coalition to End Hunger and Share Our Strength, gives the state an "opportunity to address the issue from ground zero and to connect with families, schools, faith-based organizations, markets, neighborhoods and anyone else who wants to be involved."

As for the invitation to cook alongside woohoo chefs like Jacques Torres, Mary Sue Milliken, Stephen Pyles and Todd Gray, Selby calls it a "lifetime opportunity, made even more special since we'll be raising hunger awareness in front of twenty five governors."

Madras Venison Loin

4 pieces venison loin, about 7 ounces each
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons yellow curry paste

1. Place coconut milk milk, extra virgin olive oil and curry paste in a mixing
bowl, and whisk to combine.
2. Add the venison loin steaks to the marinade, and toss by hand to coat.
3. Refrigerate overnight.

Grilling the Venison

2. Bring venison steaks to room temperature.
2. Preheat your grill.
3. Season both sides of each venison steak with salt and pepper.
4.Oil the grill, and place the loin steaks on the hottest part of the grill, and grill for 2 minutes and flip. Grill the other side for 2 minutes, and flip again, leaving the steaks on the hottest part of the barbecue. Grill each side for an additional 2 minutes for mid-rare steaks. If you want your steaks medium- or well-done , move them to cooler spots on the grill, and keep turning the steaks every 1-1/2 minutes, until desired doneness.

Dried Cherry Butter Reduction

1/2 cup dried cherries
1 cup port
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the dried cherries and port in a small sauce pan. Place over high
heat, and reduce the port by about one quarter.
2. Add cream to the port cherry mixture, simmer and reduce until its thick and
sauce-like.
3. Swirl in the butter, and whisk to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.

Ginger Ale Oyster Mushrooms

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 pound oyster mushrooms, whole, washed and patted dry
2 tablespoons Ginger Ale
1 teaspoon basil, chopped
2 teaspoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice away any fibrous core and lower ends of the oyster mushrooms.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan, and add the ginger and garlic .
3. Saute about 1-1/2 minutes, and add the oyster mushrooms to the pan. Sweat the mushrooms, and when they begin to look wet and cooked through, add the Ginger Ale.
4. Cook down/reduce the Ginger Ale into the mushrooms. Keep moving the mushrooms around the pan until they start to caramelize, and almost crisp around the edges.
5. Add the basil and butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pommes Frites

5 Russet potatoes
1 quart canola or peanut oil
Cold water
Kosher salt

1. Slice the potatoes into 1/4" by 1/4" pieces, like a french fry.
2. Place the sliced potatoes into a large container, and cover with cold water.
3. Chill the potatoes in water, for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight
4. Pour the oil into a large sauce pan, and using a candy thermometer, slowly bring the temperature of the oil up to 250 degrees.
5. Remove small batches of sliced potatoes from the water, shaking off excess
water, and plunge into the hot oil, batch by batch.
6. Allow potatoes to blanch for 6 minutes, and then transfer to paper towels. Spread evenly to slightly cool.
7. Bring oil temperature slowly up to 350 degrees. In batches, carefully plunge
blanched potatoes into the hot oil. Fry the potatoes until crisp, about 4 minutes.
8. Transfer fries to fresh paper towels, and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.


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