Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tenth Annual Head to Tail Dinner with Incanto's Chef Chris Cosentino

It was my first time seeing a hacksaw in a kitchen restaurant. For Incanto's offalphile chef Chris Cosentino, I suppose it comes in handy. Whether sawing off trotters or cutting open a rib cage to get an animal's heart, Chef Cosentino's serious work with animals undoubtedly requires serious tools. Or maybe the hacksaw is just a souvenir from his episode of Chef Unleashed at the Broken Arrow Ranch in Texas (in which he shot a deer, dressed it in the field after admirably getting choked up about the kill, and made tartare with its heart).

In any case, the hacksaw was the least surprising element of my visit to Incanto for Cosentino's 10th Head to Tail dinner. The major surprises came in the form of duck blood soup, tripe crudo, liverwurst and snails, lamb offal in a Thai larb-inspired entree (my favorite of the night), and desserts of chicken-chocolate cannoli and "fig newtons" with pig ears. Creativity, technique, and love enhanced both the subtle (tripe) and rich (liver, kidney) offal.

Each year Cosentino works hard to top all past H2T dinners. He plans the extravaganza months in advance. He makes a rough list of dishes early-on and continuously refines the dishes as the dinner draws near, up until the morning of the dinner. Photos below document this year's snout-to-tail dinner, which celebrated "Ten years of blood, guts, and tears!"

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