Gracie’s Outstanding in the Field dinner in Portsmouth, R.I.

Gracie's Executive Chef Matthew Varga plating rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Gracie’s Executive Chef Matthew Varga plating rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

On Wednesday, September 12, the Gracie’s team moved from Providence to Portsmouth for a spectacular evening with the Outstanding in the Field tour. This year’s dinner was held at Aquidneck Farms on what could only be described as a picture-perfect setting with the table for 150 guests extending down to the western bank of the Sakonnet River. Gracie’s Executive Chef Matthew Varga’s menu managed to far surpass the wonders of the location in it’s perfection, and Pastry Chef Melissa Denmark’s fruit tart may have been one of the best desserts I’ve had all year (I was invited to sit for dinner as a guest of Gracie’s).

Farms represented by Varga’s menu included Blackbird Farm, Pat’s Pastured, Matunuck Oysters, Schartner Farms, Saltwater Farms, Aquidneck Farms and Shy Brothers Farm. The menu was paired with Napa Valley wines from Jonathan Edwards Winery, based in North Stonington, Connecticut, and included the debut of Gracie’s two private label wines, one based around Jonathan Edwards Connecticut Cabernet Franc and the other on Connecticut Pinot Gris.

Here are twenty-eight select photos from the evening. You can also view photos from the 2010 and 2011 Outstanding in the Field dinners. For the full set of 181 photos from this year’s event, please see this Eat Drink RI Facebook album.

Chef Matthew Varga with the Outstanding in the Field table overlooking the Sakonnet River

Chef Matthew Varga with the Outstanding in the Field table overlooking the Sakonnet River

musk melon, Blackbird Farm prosciutto

musk melon, Blackbird Farm prosciutto

Matunuck oysters on the half shell, cucumber mignonette

Matunuck oysters on the half shell, cucumber mignonette

Pt. Judith lobster profiteroles, tarragon aioli, pickled ramps

Pt. Judith lobster profiteroles, tarragon aioli, pickled ramps

Chef Matthew Varga

Chef Matthew Varga

Danielle Lowe and Melissa Denmark preparing salads

Danielle Lowe and Melissa Denmark preparing salads

Danielle Lowe plating the heirloom tomato, mozzarella cheese, garden flavors & verjus

Danielle Lowe plating the heirloom tomato, mozzarella cheese, garden flavors & verjus

Peter Kachmarsky and Matthew Varga grilling chicken

Peter Kachmarsky and Matthew Varga grilling chicken

Cucumbers and radishes in verjus for the salad course

Cucumbers and radishes in verjus for the salad course

Matthew Varga plating the salad course

Matthew Varga plating the salad course

Aquidneck Farms chickens on the grill

Aquidneck Farms chickens on the grill

The finished heirloom tomato, mozzarella cheese, garden flavors & verjus

The finished heirloom tomato, mozzarella cheese, garden flavors & verjus

The Outstanding in the Field table

The Outstanding in the Field table

The Outstanding in the Field table with guests

The Outstanding in the Field table with guests

Saltwater Farms mussels on the grill

Saltwater Farms mussels on the grill

Matthew Varga in a haze of mussel steam

Matthew Varga in a haze of mussel steam

Saltwater Farms mussels, Aquidneck sausage, grilled onions, sweet basil

Saltwater Farms mussels, Aquidneck sausage, grilled onions, sweet basil

Plating the rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Plating the rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Plating the rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Plating the rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Rosemary roasted chicken, new crop potatoes, green beans & natural juices

Melissa Denmark plating her dessert

Melissa Denmark plating her dessert

Matthew Varga photographing Danielle Lowe plating dessert

Matthew Varga photographing Danielle Lowe plating dessert

Late summer fruit tart, honeyed Cloumage, lavender caramel (to come)

Late summer fruit tart, honeyed Cloumage, lavender caramel (to come)

Matthew Varga preparing watermelon

Matthew Varga preparing watermelon

Late summer fruit tart, honeyed Cloumage, lavender caramel

Late summer fruit tart, honeyed Cloumage, lavender caramel

Gracie's owner Ellen Gracyalny

Gracie’s owner Ellen Gracyalny

The Gracie's and Outstanding in the Field group enjoying the spoils of victory. Thank you to everyone involved in the wonderful evening.

The Gracie’s and Outstanding in the Field group enjoying the spoils of victory. Thank you to everyone involved in the wonderful evening.

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