Serrano Restaurant, 20 S. Second Street in Old City District, will host the dinner that beer lover’s dreams are made of on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, starting at 6:30pm. Executive Chef Gina Rodriguez and Eulogy’s Christopher Topham have created five courses that are as eclectic as they are adventurous. Seating is limited for this special one night only partnership that also serves as a memorable farewell to Topham before he moves to Denver, Colorado. Reservations are required. Tickets are $60 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and available by calling 215-928-0770.
Serrano owner Donal McCoy said the idea to pair Topham with Rodriguez came easily. At Eulogy Belgian Tavern, McCoy worked with Chris closely for two years. He watched his interest in beer of all types grow into a passion. “His breadth of knowledge and understanding in this field put him on a par with the top local beer authorities and beyond,” said McCoy. Chef Gina has worked here at Serrano for just over a year and watching her create dishes is very exciting. Her grasp of flavors is unsurpassed. And the dishes she produces are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palette. Two people, passionate about what they do, armed with a huge arsenal of knowledge on their subject makes perfect sense.”
With the pairing of these two Old City familiar faces, McCoy hopes to create the perfect dining and drinking experience, and provide a unique and memorable farewell to Topham. Soon after the event, the Philadelphia beer scene will lose one of its finest authorities as Topham moves to Denver, Colorado to immerse himself in its flourishing beer scene.
As one final act of genius, Topham will present five selections that have origins going back over a century and were traditionally ‘working man’ ales. “I have always wanted to do a beer dinner with an emphasis on rustic styles,” said Topham. “Pairing them with exceptional food elevates the peasant nature of the beer into a refined dining experience.” Topham’s partner in crime, Rodriguez, will raise the bar even more by creating culinary masterpieces that enhance and elevate the dining experience to new levels. “I have always liked doing beer and wine dinners. I love to capture the appetite of the selective dinner that looks for a truly unique and memorable experience. Chris is a brilliant mastermind that will help me create an unforgettable night.”
Rodriguez and Topham’s final menu and pairing list is as follows:
Long Island Blue Point Oysters
Ale Mignonette En Gelee
Baked Tomato Mediterranean Style
Wholegrain Crème Fraiche
Stillwater Cellar Door
Chicken Liver Pate
Grilled Plum and Green Apple
Bruery Oude Tart
Lamb Two Ways
Loin Chop and Merguez Sausage
Cilantro Mint Pesto
Het Nest Kleveretin
Cow’s Milk, Switzerland
Rogue River Blue
Cow’s Milk, Oregon
Boulder Killer Penguin
Reservations are required as space is limited. Tickets are $60 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and available by calling 215-928-0770. For more information about Serrano, please visit serranophilly.com, like Serrano Restaurant on Facebook or follow @serranophilly on Twitter.
ABOUT EXECUTIVE CHEF GINA RODRIGUEZ
Although always her life-long passion, cooking is the second career for Arizona native Chef Gina Rodriguez. Rodriguez earned a degree in psychology and worked for a Tucson behavioral health center before enrolling at Scottsdale Culinary Institute. After graduating SCI Le Cordon Bleu, an externship in New Orleans under noted chef John Besh, and mentoring by French Master Chefs, Rodriguez worked along the San Diego coast in luxurious resort restaurants such as DH&R’s beautiful Estancia LaJolla (Adobe El Restaurante) and KSL’s La Costa Resort and Spa (the 350 seat Bluefire restaurant). She has worked at major restaurants in New York, New Orleans, Arizona and California before arriving in Philadelphia. Chef Rodriguez' creative talents also led to her to consult for the Nestle Corporation in Ohio and Denver. In Philadelphia, Rodriguez served as Executive Chef at Kokopelli and Max and David’s before joining Serrano Restaurant in Old City.
In a male-dominated profession, Rodriguez is proof that women are a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. She served as the first female behind the stoves at the acclaimed Ventana Room at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona, earning the coveted AAA 5 Diamond award in 2008, the only female awarded in the US that year.
ABOUT CHRIS TOPHAM
Born and raised in the Philadelphia, Chris Topham moved to Center City in 1995 to attend the University of the Arts. After graduation, his passion for the arts manifested itself into a passion for the city's amazing food culture. For the past eleven years, Chris has worked at one of Philadelphia's, and the country's, premiere beer destinations, helping to build and maintain a beverage program that has garnered numerous awards. From his first sip of Belgian beer more than a decade ago, and many international and domestic trips to great beer regions in between, Chris remains passionate about tasting new varieties and excited about sharing them with guests. He looks forward to the beer dinner at Serrano, which he worked closely with Chef Gina Rodriguez to prepare.
Serrano had been a staple on second street for over 25 years. You could say it was on the street prior to the neighborhood being "hip". Named after the pepper, not the ham, the food can be described as internationally influenced contemporary cooking. Recently, Chef Gina Rodriguez came on board to re-launch the menu and restaurant's reputation for producing exceptional dishes at neighborhood prices. The vibe of the restaurant is very laid back. On any given day you can find a doctor next to an artist sharing a drink.