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Wine and Food Festival profile: Chef Trey Quinlan at Bleu

Thursday, June 18, 2009 | 7:09 p.m. CDT; updated 9:04 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 18, 2009
Chef Trey Quinlan prepares salmon and steak filets on Thursday in the kitchen at Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar in Columbia. Quinlan is one of several local chefs set to participate in this years Columbia Wine and Food Festival, set to begin Saturday and run through June 27

Chef Trey Quinlan of Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar has prepared a menu of scallops, caprese salad, filet of rib-eye with gorgonzola and a peach brule tarte served with a bourbon butterscotch sauce for one of the five wine dinners Tuesday during Columbia's Wine and Food Festival.

Quinlan is the executive chef of Bleu and, together with Sous Chef Dave Faron,has developed a five-course dinner paired with wine.

“We thought of things that would complement the wine,” Quinlan said. “We wanted to put things together that would go nicely.”

He described the theme as “loosely contemporary American,” but he said the main goal was that chefs use their imaginations.

“We really wanted to be creative and fool around with a couple of ingredients we were comfortable with and make it as mouth-watering as possible,” he said.

“We’ve spent a couple of Saturdays out at the farmers market trying to get orders placed,” he added. “Now, it’s just prepping it out.”

Pairing food and wine is not always an easy task, he said. Some basic rules collectively known as the “tower of power” must be followed. In many ways, he said, the process resembles an intimate dance that begins slowly and ends powerfully.

“We want the food to go nicely and subtly with the wine,” Quinlan said. “We start with light whites and work our way into fuller bodies and into the reds.”

Quinlan began working in a Greek restaurant at 14 and later became involved in a culinary program at Hickman High School. He went to the Culinary Institute of America and got an associate's degree in culinary arts and a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management. 

“The school gave me the basics, but the creativity was just me and Dave working together,” he said.


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