Just next week, we’ll be digging into 6 courses at Cheers to 130 Years!, an intimate dinner and celebration of the beloved Driskill’s 130th anniversary. You can check out the menu here, and tickets are available here. We sat down with Executive Chefs David Bull + Troy Knapp to discuss the inspiration behind the dinner.
What is your inspiration for this menu + how did you plan it?
Troy Knapp: The thing that keeps it all feeling real and right is The Driskill’s history. Whether it be a new interpretation of a classic dish, or small elements that give a nod to a moment in time, it has allowed us to share what history means to each of us in our own interpretation through these menu items. We are very excited to welcome the talents of Chef David Bull back to the kitchen. He had a major role in developing the Culinary reputation of The Driskill and the community; it’s an honor to share the kitchen with him for this special evening.
David Bull: We looked at past menus and popular items that had the best guest response. There were several dishes that we wanted to bring back for this event, but we landed on items that made the most sense for a plated dinner and would have the biggest impact to highlight the memories of my time spent in The Driskill kitchen.
What are the steps of planning a menu or wine pairing that most people might not realize?
Troy Knapp: Typically I start by selecting the wine and then build the dishes around the selections. This allows for a more detailed focus on nuances and the ability to create great harmonies. For this event it’s really special to co-celebrate 130 years with Trefethen Family Vineyards; it’s more than just great wine, we share a moment in time together that is meaningful to both of us.
David Bull: I think functionality is always overlooked. It’s important to anticipate how the guest will consume the product—the size of each bite, the ratio of texture throughout the dish and also how to maintain the specific temperature of the dish. Cooking for a large group changes everything. For the best outcome you have to put yourself in the shoes and minds of your guests.
What was the first thing you ever cooked?
Troy Knapp: I don’t remember the first thing I cooked, but I clearly remember the first thing I should have cooked. I was washing dishes at a restaurant in the outskirts of Seattle (where I grew up), the cook left and I was the only one in the kitchen. An order came in for a seafood salad and I put raw scallops on top of the lettuce, made it look good and sent it out. Needless to say, it didn’t go over very well.
David Bull: The first thing I ever cooked was meatballs in the back room of my grandparents’ Italian restaurant–Oliveries. I’m sure there were other earlier items but I remember being thrilled to finally get to make the meatballs!
What is your favorite part about being a chef?
Troy Knapp: The kitchen is an environment that will accept most anyone that has strong work ethic. It’s diverse in many ways such as age, culture, ethnicity, etc. This all creates a dynamic where you’re learning from each other all the time (not just about food, life in general). Everyone has something to give and giving is the driving force of hospitality. This is the environment that I grew up in and find comfort in.
David Bull: My favorite part is the relationships I have been blessed to share in and the opportunity to provide hard working people a chance to reach their dreams and full potential.