When a stellar chef combines his skill and great food with the knowledge of a passionate wine expert, the result is a memorable dinner by which all others will now be compared. As my friends and I gazed outside the windows of the oceanfront Retreat Room at King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort recently, we took in the tranquil view anticipating a five-course meal about to be served.

Chef de Cuisine James Flack worked closely with Diane Rousakis of United Distributors to plan, prepare and present our exquisite event. Ms. Rousakis is a genius at pairing the perfect wine with each course, and Chef Flack pulled out all the stops with his choices for every part of this dinner.  The wines came from France, Spain and the Napa/Sonoma vineyards of California, and many of the foods were locally sourced.

Chef James Flack at a recent cooking demonstration.

Chef James Flack at a recent cooking demonstration.

Diane Rousakis, representing United Distributors, speaking with knowledge and passion about wines.

Diane Rousakis, representing United Distributors, speaking with knowledge and passion about wines.

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Our first course was Foie Gras Tarte Tatin. The more detailed description was Seared Foie Gras and Figs on Puff Pastry with a leaf of Fried Sage on top and a light drizzle of Georgia Muscadine Reduction. The wine selected by Ms. Rousakis was Chateau Lauvignac Sauternes from France.

Foie Gras Tarte Tatin

Foie Gras Tarte Tatin

The second course was a Farmer’s Salad consisting of both cooked and raw farm vegetables with a lemon vinaigrette dressing. New to me were the fiddlehead ferns which looked like a thin stalk of asparagus rolled into a spiral. The wine pairing was Raimat Albariño, from Costers del Segre in Spain.

Farmer's Salad featuring fiddlehead ferns.

Farmer’s Salad featuring fiddlehead ferns.

The third course was a small tasty portion of Seared Georgia Black Bass over Geechie Boy Grits and Summer Squash.  I confess that I had to do some research about those grits.  I knew they were amazing, and Chef Flack mentioned the long, slow cooking time, but just what WERE Geechie Boy Grits?  Actually, they are grown on a farm not far down the Georgia coast on Edisto Island where there is also a market and a mill. Check out their website here. The wine paired with this fish course was Gerard Bertrand Pino Noir Reserve Special from Languedoc, France.

Seared Georgia Black Bass over Geechie Boy Grits with summer squash.

Seared Georgia Black Bass over Geechie Boy Grits with summer squash.

The fourth course was Grilled A 5 Wagyu Filet with a Purple Sweet Potato Puree, Asparagus, and Bearnaise Sauce.  Chef Flack explained that A 5 Wagyu was the highest grade of this particular Japanese beef.  It was quite literally fork tender with an almost buttery texture.  The best I have ever eaten — BY FAR!!  The perfect wine with that cut of beef was Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon, from Napa and Sonoma, California.

A 5 Wagyu filet with asparagus and purple sweet potato puree.

A 5 Wagyu filet with asparagus and purple sweet potato puree.

The fifth and final course was Raspberry Creme Brulee topped with Saint Augustine Vodka-Soaked Turbinado Sugar and Mint. This dessert was beautifully presented and provided a wonderful end to the amazing meal. The concluding wine of the evening was Anna di Codorniu Cava Brut Rose from Spain — another perfect pairing.

Raspberry Creme Brulee

Raspberry Creme Brulee

Chef Flack is a vital part of the success of both ECHO Restaurant and the whole experience at King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort.  His presence since 2013 has brought the dining experience at this resort to an unprecedented level. I highly recommend the restaurant and the whole resort for an evening or an entire vacation. The island vibe allows everything from flip flops to coats, ties, and flowing sundresses. I hope you get to enjoy a Wine Dinner there very soon.

 

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