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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