Learning to cook … one kid at a time

Reny, Jose, and Kelly … Oh My! September 24, 2010

Filed under: Restuarant Review,Things that make me smile — gastromami @ 9:38 am

Have you ever had one of those nights when you just can’t decide where to go to dinner?

Have you thought, “I would love to go out and have a nice meal at one of the best restaurants in Memphis,” but couldn’t decide whether to indulge in the bistro-fare of Master Chef Jose Gutierrez at River Oaks, the New Orleans flare of Chef Kelly English at Restaurant Iris, or the Latin spice of Chef Reny Alfonso at Chez Philippe?

Well, now you don’t have to decide!

Months ago, these three chefs met for lunch; talk turned to food, and the three began to think about working together on a dinner.  As talk often does with chefs, ideas grew, and grew, and grew and this collaborative dinner became a

3 night, 3 chef, 3 course dinner series

On September 12th we gathered for the first night of the series and it went well beyond even my own expectations.  You see, I am married to Reny so I know how well he cooks (why do you think I married him!?);  and, I actually met Reny while I was working for Jose at Encore – so I know just how spectacular everything is that he puts on a plate.  I knew that with these three, dinner was going to blow me away … and well, it blew me straight to the Milky Way.

Upon entering River Oaks for the 6:00 PM dinner guests were greeted with a glass of Aria cava, sweetened with a little cassis and fresh raspberries while the servers roamed the room with tastes of rabbit confit, goat cheese fritters, salmon croquettes with creme fraiche, and potato and basil wrapped shrimp.

1st Course by Reinaldo Alfonso

Shrimp and Salmon Terrine, Wild Mushroom and Rice Salad, Spiced Tomato Coulis, Cracked Cumin Seed Tuille

paired with:  Twomey Savignon Blanc

Wow!  Moist, delicate, sweet, savory, spicy … this light and beautiful dish was the perfect start to our meal.  Paired with the delightfully crisp Twomey sauvignon blanc

2nd Course by Kelly English

Lamb Sirloin “Vin Cotto” with Andouille and Truffled Gumbo Jus

paired with:  Silver Oak Cabernet

*disclaimer – Reny was in charge of taking pictures in the kitchen and said he got too busy plating to get the final products!

Beautifully cooked, tender lamb served over a bed of flavorful andouille complimented by the earthiness of truffles.  Yum!  This dish was huge (perfect for the pregnant lady and all meat lovers) and no, that wine was not a misprint, we were really given SILVER OAK CABERNET (Alexander Valley) with the second course!  One of my favorites, the wine was the perfect balance to the gaminess of the lamb.  It is rare that I get to drink Silver Oak and I, for one, have never seen it featured at a wine dinner like this!  (and at this price!)  Oscar of Star Distributors did an excellent job, as always, visiting each table to talk about the wines and I can’t wait to see what he has coming for the next two dinners!

3rd Course by Jose Gutierrez

Almond, Fig & Honey Galette with Mascarpone Ice Cream

This dish was perfect on a hot summer night;  warm, light, and paired with beautiful mascarpone ice cream and the flavor of almond and the sweetness of the figs jumped on your tongue.  This dish was paired with a muscato but I’m sorry I can’t remember which wine!

This third course rounded out the meal by “The Master” himself and didn’t disappoint!

If you were unable to attend the dinner at River Oaks, you still have two more chances to dine with these three chefs!

Each dinner is held on a Sunday night at 6:00pm and includes 3-courses, 3-wines, and 3-chefs for $65!

Restaurant Iris

2146 Monroe Ave.

Memphis, TN 38104

October 17, 2010

6:00 pm

for reservations call


Chez Philippe

149 Union Ave.

Memphis, TN 38103

November 7, 2010

6:00 pm

for reservations call


Here is a sneak peak of the menu at Chez Philippe

1st Course:  Kelly English, Iris

Hifalutin Shrimp “Boil,”  Sauce Meuniere, Andouille, Corn

2nd Course:  Jose Gutierrez, River Oaks

Coq au Vin, puree de celeri-rave, and les petits oignons au vin rouge

3rd Course:  Reinaldo Alfonso, Chez Philippe

Dulce de Leche Mille-Feuilles, crisp pastry, dulce de leche mousse, poached apple and caramel sauce


One Response to “Reny, Jose, and Kelly … Oh My!”

  1. Alina Alfonso Says:

    Although I am trying to get to Memphis soon to see my beautiful grandson, I wouldn’t mind doing it during one of these weekends so that I can also get to taste this wonderful food!
    Congratulations to all three chefs! (one of whom is my handsome son!).

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