by Chef Stefania Trimboli-Wright
I knew I wanted to have another creative outlet besides the daily menu.
The idea started forming in my mind, all local fresh ingredients would be the stars, a warm communal setting with stringed lights hanging over head would be the backdrop. The ambiance, created by the live music filling the flowing air, would surround the backyard. Beautifully decorated tables with flowers and candles set the perfect tone to the fun evening.
At first, to allow for guests to arrive, you mingle and munch on some local charcuterie, cheese and grilled bread. Something pickled, something sweet. You try things like pate, head cheese, maybe a rillette while you get to know the other guests. Then, you sit, and the first course comes, usually a fresh seasonal salad or cold vegetable starter. Next, comes either a fresh hand made pasta or polenta, any grains. Then we have the main protein course with more vegetables, highlighting every ingredient and treating it with the respect it deserves.
Dessert closes the evening, using local, at times exotic, fruit.
I’m ready to start the process of developing the menu the day after I have a dinner. First, I start with the month, the season, what it makes me feel, think remember. Food memories play an integral part of my menu planning and development.
I love how a spoonful can take you back years and make you feel like you’re in mama’s kitchen again. Or remembering that summer afternoon I spent with my brother and made pesto. I love my food memories. I love making more and being a part of other’s.
I’m inspired by the seasons, and the imposed limitations following them creates. You have asparagus, swiss chard, spring onions and mushrooms, what are you going to do? It forces something to come out that might otherwise never have been given a chance to surface.
The Wildfire Dinner is a monthly dinner hosted by Chef Stefania Trimboli-Wright at the Rio Grande Grill.
She uses all local ingredients and cooks outside over an open fire. Seating is communal with beautifully decorated tables sprinkled with lights overhead. Enjoy a multicourse meal paired with carefully selected wine while listening to live music. One of the Harlingen’s most unique dining experiences.
Find out more and make reservations please visit the Wildfire Dinner page on Facebook