Le Gorille chefs bring PA cuisine to The Big Apple
By TOM KANE
SHOHOLA, PA The owners/chefs of Le Gorille Restaurant on Twin Lakes Road have been invited to prepare a Pennsylvania Luncheon at the prestigious James Beard House in Greenwich Village.
Chefs Julia Child and Peter Kump, who both studied with renowned culinary author, journalist and food consultant James Beard, founded the James Beard House, and the James Beard Foundation invites well-known chefs to cook lunch and dinner for its membership each day of the week.
Its a great honor to be asked to cook at the James Beard House, said Le Gorille chef Peter Daniel. Its like the Oscars of the food industry.
Beard House spokesperson Mildred Amico said, Its too bad that this wonderful restaurant has not had very much publicity. We want to correct that by inviting them to show their skills at Beard House.
On Friday, March 4, Peter and Sharon Berliner-Daniel, who have owned Le Gorille Restaurant since 1986, will prepare their Pennsylvania Luncheon at the James Beard House on West 12th Street.
Whats Pennsylvanian about the luncheon?
All the food and wine will be supplied from farms, food suppliers and wineries in Pennsylvania, Sharon said.
The Daniels were directed to a variety of farms and wineries in the state by the Pennsylvania Department of Agricultures Division of Marketing and the Pennsylvania Preferred Program, Sharon said. Wine consultants from Penn State University provided the chefs with the names of Pennsylvanias award-winning wines.
Their menu (see below) features the state fish, Pennsylvania brook trout, elk, pork and even Kennett Square mushrooms.
Its kind of significant that a mom-and-pop restaurant in a rural area like ours should wind up at James Beard House, where only celebrity chefs have appeared, Peter said. Its a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Peter learned his skills by working under some extraordinary chefs. He was the chef in several corporate and cultural locations, including the Ford Foundation and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He met Sharon, Le Gorilles pastry chef, in Boston, where he worked as a chef at the Wurst House at Harvard Square.
After cooking for several venues in New Jersey, the couple made their way to Shohola in 1986, taking over LeGorille.
We have a French name, but our cuisine isnt French, but classically American, Peter said.
When we first saw the restaurant, we realized that it was perfect for us. We wanted to raise a family, Sharon said. The restaurant has a house next to it and was perfect for us. The Daniels have two sons, ages seven and 13.
LeGorilles menu for First Friday Lunch
• Served with Pinnacle Ridge Brut Reserve NV from Pinnacle Ridge Winery, Kutztown, PA.
• Bell and Evans Farms (Fredericksburg, PA) chicken thighs marinated in black bean sauce.
• Tea-smoked loin of Shaffer Farms (Herndon, PA) venison with mango puree.
• Jicama chip with Shellbark Farm goat cheese and red onion preserves.
• Served with Pinot Noir, Barrel Select 2002, from Chaddsford Winery, Chadds Ford, PA.
• Mushroom soup from To-Jo Farm, Kennett Square, PA.
• Served with Chardonnay 2003 from Manatawny Creek Winery, Douglassville, PA.
• Apple-smoked Paradise Hatchery (Cresco, PA) brook trout with horseradish-cauliflower puree, roasted onions, chive oil and spiced Pennsylvania black walnuts.
• Served with Reserve Merlot 2002 from Allegro Vineyards, Brogue, PA.
• Braised Hatfield pork shank with roasted root vegetables.
• Served with Ice Wine of Vidal Blanc 2003 from Mazza Vineyards, North East, PA.
• Ode to the Banana Split, invented in 1904 by Stricklers Drug Store, Latrobe, PA. Dish includes banana-caramel-chocolate-chip ice cream on a dacquoise disc with Hersheys chocolate chips and Lions Brewery root beer sauce with raspberry coulis.