At the AIA in springtime, there’s only one thing on our minds—food. At the AIA’s largest fundraising event of the year we featured a banquet inspired by the symposia of Ancient Greece. Leading up to the big event, a top NYC special events chef Joseph Jenkins worked with the institute to take on the challenge of curating a menu of Old World ingredients based on the archaeology and mythology of Classical Greece. Gathering inspiration from Chef Maria Loi’s cookbook Ancient Dining, chef Jenkins created a meal with intricate details to bring to life archaeology’s unending quest for remnants of the past to tell a story of the use of food in ancient celebration to modern day gala goers. We invite you to learn more about this talented Chef and to view the evening’s menu and the mythology that inspired it for what was a most ancient–inspired evening.
Inspired by Poseidon (God of the Sea)
Saffron Garides with Imported Feta and Dressed Wild Greens
Exquisite frescoes from the Late Bronze Age site of Akrotiri,
Santorini, depict Ancient Minoan women gathering saffron. In
addition to being a delicious ingredient, saffron has medicinal
purposes – legend has it that Alexander the Great’s armies used it
as an antiseptic after battle.
Inspired by Artemis (Goddess of the Hunt)
Pheasant and Quail Pie accompanied by Wild Grains, Lentils,
Candied Orange Rind, Dried Julienne Figs, and Edible Flowers
The word “sycophant”, meaning “servile, self-seeking flatterer,” has
its origins in Classical Greece. Since it was illegal to export foods
from Athens, occasionally more desirable items – especially figs
– were smuggled across the border. Individuals who reported on
these underhanded dealings were called sykophantes – “one who
shows the fig.”
VEGETARIAN MAIN COURSE
Inspired by Chloris (Goddess of Flowers)
Whole Artichoke Flower Stuffed with Legumes, Wild Grains,
Lentils, Candied Orange Rind, and Dried Julienne Figs.
Accompanied with a Wheel of Goat Cheese and Edible Flowers
Splashed with Seasoned Chive Oil
When Zeus fell in love with a woman named Cynara, he brought
her to live with him on Mount Olympus. But she missed her
family so much that she used to sneak back to earth to visit them,
infuriating Zeus. In a fit of rage, he threw her back to earth and
transformed her into the first artichoke. This tale inspired the
vegetable’s scientific name, Cynara cardunculus.
Inspired by “The Sacred Pear” Kythoni (The Fruit of Love)
Poached Pear in Greek Red Wine, Nestled in a Bed of Spun Sugar,
Topped with a Mint Crème, and Sprinkled with Pomegranate
Jewels and Crushed Pistachios
In springtime, we celebrate the return of Persephone, who was
tricked into eating pomegranate seeds by Hades, Lord of the Dead.
She was condemned to spend part of each year in the Underworld
– one month for each seed that she ate. Winter descends while the
earth mourns her absence, and spring appears when she returns.
Joseph Jenkins’ worldly culinary knowledge and approach to cuisine has made him a force in the food industry for more than two decades.
Included in his impressive resume are fifteen years as Executive Chef at the renowned Glorious Food in New York City, where he tempted the elite with his exquisite, delectable food. His years of experience rest on a cooking foundation developed and honed at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. In 1999, Jenkins and wife, Jennifer, founded the successful Le Potager Catering which was later purchased by Glorious Food.
During his career he has had the distinct pleasure of creating memorable dinners for some of New York’s most prestigious events such as the Costume Ball, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Robin Hood Foundation, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; the US Open Tennis Corporate Tents, Arthur Ashe Stadium; Huggy Bear Tennis, South Hampton and the New York City Ballet, New York State Theater.