Fifth Avenue’s infamous Modern American eatery, Betony, played host to Trends on Trends and The Art of Plating’s first collaborative event on March 26th, 2015 which gathered artists and food lovers for a lunch as artful as it was delicious. The meal celebrated the rising of springtime (despite the driving rain outside…) with a monochromatic, all-green feast. Betony’s executive chef and ‘ninja in whites’ Bryce Shuman drew inspiration from all corners of the season’s offerings, drawing up a tailor-made five course menu to beat away any residue of winter blues.
he guests gathered around a heavy mahogany table set up in the restaurant’s mezzanine, overlooking the glowing main room. Gentle orange lights, vases bursting with yellow flowers and soft velvet chairs gave the space a soft elegance, while the lunch service buzzed with voices and music downstairs. The long table was decorated with vases of lush herbs, ferns and (as we soon discovered) edible flowers.
From fashion bloggers and photographers to writers and chefs, the table assembled a select group of like-minded artists to share stories, network and eat. And, of course, to record the whole thing in photographs, which is why the ‘Instagramming table’, a little iPhone-friendly setup in the lightest corner of the room, was welcomed with opened arms by all.
The feast of flora and fauna kicked off with a little dish of fava beans, sesame and fresh herbs, followed by Hamachi (which, Bryce explained, were the first blossoms of the season), spring onion and sharp, warming lime pickle. After this came a dish to “cling to the ribs”; a pea, cheddar and smoked consume bowl. Bryce followed this up with poached chicken, asparagus and ‘goddess dressing’, finally tying it all up with a dessert of pandan, pistachio and sorrel. Green has never tasted so good. Each dish was complemented by an exclusive cocktail mocked up and muddled by Betony’s general manager/ chief cocktail expert Eamon Rockey, each tipple seamlessly matched to its dish and ornamenting the food perfectly.
Every course appeared like a work of minimalist art, greens of every shade and depth standing out against the pristine white china of the plates. Which probably explains the constant fluttering of the table as guests took their plates to every light-filled spot of the room to capture and share the beauty of the food. Bryce showcased his unique skills, demonstrating the rich myriad of flavors that can be found in foods of just one color. Despite the volume of dishes, guests were left just satisfied enough to share a rich, milky Tiki cocktail with him at the end, cheersing to a lunch that was nothing short of perfect. Every mouthful was light, bright, and diverse, lingering with the senses long after they’d been swiped away by the restaurant’s doting staff. As well as reminding a roomful of wool-clad New Yorkers that winter is (almost) on its way out of town, Chef Bryce found himself a clutch of newly devoted fans.
Despite the darkening storm clouds outside, this decadent and delicious event reminded everyone of the joys of spring and summer time to come. Any event that ends with a top chef unearthing his father’s 1970s Polaroid and a rum cocktail is fine by us.