A Lamb Feast with Kevin Hermann and Camila Alarcón Cordón

A springtime dinner at TABLE Studios showcases a collaboration between Kevin Hermann, executive chef and co-owner of Wildwoods Craft Kitchen and Catering, and wine enthusiast Camila Alarcón Cordón. “This dinner features Farm to Table Pittsburgh and Emerald Valley Artisan Produce,” Hermann explains, “and the center stage goes to Ross Farm for the beautiful lamb shanks, and the wine pairing procured and crafted by Camila Uncorked. It’s truly a love for the craft and the love of the journey.”

Kevin Hermann cuts a product at a cutting board white smiling at the camera in a baseball hat. The photo is in black and white.

Guests sip a rosemary Campari spritz from TABLE Publisher Justin Matase before sitting at long tables with white candles and simple, elegant greenery. The evening’s vibe proved vibrant and conversational, with the palpable passion of all involved adding to the buzz.

Bringing Spring to the Menu

Menu planning began with reflection on the season at hand. “Springtime is one of the most inspiring times of year as the world begins to awaken around us,” Hermann explains. “It began with my love for lamb and the sweetness it can bring to the table. Peas, rhubarb, white chocolate, and absolute freedom.”

A man in a purple shirt holds a pink drink in a TABLE Magazine cocktail glass with a spring of rosemary sticking out of the top.

Hermann first paints the picture of a meal in his mind. He credits the success of this event—and any event—to relying on a steady team of folks. Together, he says, they make the impossible come to life. “My sous chefs have gotten attuned to the last-minute changes when a harvest might not come in the way one might hope,” he says. “These close connections with the growers have forged real connections to the food I serve.”

A white bowl holds a creamy green soup with a slice of bread on the brim of the bowl.

Having been in the industry since age 15, Hermann’s constantly fascinated by how life-changing working with food can be, from simple meals to beautifully plated works of art. “I find inspiration in the journey of cooking,” he shares. “The mistakes turn into heartwarming dishes as we hone our skills and taste buds.” Hermann’s been the executive chef for Bistro To Go Catering for two-plus years. Over the past year, they’ve developed Wildwoods Catering as Bistro To Go’s elevated catering brand. They also reopened the café space (now Wildwoods Craft Kitchen), with seasonal sandwiches, salads, pickles, sauces, pasta dishes, and more.

A woman in white pours wine for another woman seated at a long table with candles.

Thinking Ahead

Hermann says planning for something like last spring’s feast begins months in advance. “Connecting with farmers as the project crops up and ensuring the vision can be sourced on all fronts,” he says. “As time clicks by in the kitchen, we hone the concepts and ideas around the menu and ensure the recipes are in fact delicious.”

A white plate holds lamb and various vegetables on a table surrounded by wine glasses, greenery, and candles.

Every detail must be intentionally thought through, from rentals to flowers creating a certain vibe. Several days out the produce arrives, and then the fun begins as the stage gets set, polished, and prepped. “Teaching my chefs to maintain their composure is important to the way we work,” he says, referencing the vibrant April evening. “Grace and teamwork culminate in what was one of the grandest dinners I have had the pleasure of putting on.”

When it comes to the aesthetics of a meal, Hermann believes we always eat first with our eyes. “So, when it comes to plating these creative dishes, it is important to look for contrasting flavors, textures and colors,” he says. “Every ingredient provides an opportunity to surprise the guest.” Though Hermann’s been known to plate a dish several times before finding the best version, he’s constantly reminding his chefs and himself: Simplicity will always win.

A man in a bright patterned shirt holds a red cocktail and talks to a woman in a blue dress also holding a red drink.

The best compliment Hermann could receive after an event? A hug. “The connection is real and tangible,” he explains, “Without my guests, I would not have had the opportunity to play.”

Make Chef Kevin Hermann’s Burgundy Braised Lamb Shank Dinner at home.

Story by Corinne Whiting / Photography by Laura Petrilla

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