Bourbon barrels lined the A. Smith Bowman warehouse as guests entered the distillery on January 11th for UGK’s inaugural event in Fredericksburg, VA. Right away, guests were offered a “French 95,” a bourbon inspired take on the classic French 75 cocktail. Guests walked around the space sipping their drinks and mingling, looking at the almost 100 years of bourbon making history that lined the walls until they were called to gather in the center of the warehouse for a tour that preceded meal. The tour started off by taking the 30 patrons of UGK to see the two main whiskey stills that are used by A. Smith Bowman. One, about a year old, named “George” makes about one barrel of bourbon every day. The other whiskey still, named “Mary,” has been in use for 25 years and can make about 10 barrels every hour. After this brief introduction to the tools of the trade, the guests were taken to see the fruits of George and Mary’s labor, a HUGE warehouse space filled nearly floor to ceiling with full barrels of bourbon. The scent of bourbon was in the air. This storage warehouse seriously looked like Hangar 51 from Indiana Jones, but instead of boxes containing government secrets, there were barrels stacked high with premium bourbon whiskey.
When the guests retuned to the table, Chef Brice Cunningham from Tempo Restaurant in Charlottesville, VA had set up his kitchen just five feet from the guests at the head of the table and was preparing the first course. After a brief introduction to UGK and the chef had been made, the first course was plated and served. Calamari Tagliatell with a Parsley Parmesean Crema served as a savory introduction to the meal that was to follow. Following this came a Ginger Infused Carrot Veloute, and a House-Smoked Salmon that was smoked using wood chips from the inside of Bowman bourbon barrels. Then came Pork Medallions with a Castle Hill Cider and Bowman Whiskey glaze, served with a Sweet Potato Puree and Prunes and Local Apples. Now came a palette cleanser that consisted of a Cucumber and Mint Sorbet with a Bowman Gin Foam. A few gueststried to sip this before being told that the cleanser should be taken all at once, creating an interesting sweet/savory mix between the mint, cucumber, and gin. The meal was then finished by a Creme Brulee with a Bowman Rum Raisin Ice Cream. A few guests told us after the event that the dessert was “better than excellent.” Finally, UGK’s guests were sent home with an individual bundt cake each, as well as a $20 gift certificate to Tempo Restaurant in Charlottesville, courtesy of the chef. All in all, spirits were high throughout the evening, both literally and figuratively, in this distillery. UGK can’t wait to come back to A. Smith Bowman soon to put on another amazing event.
Chef Brice Cunningham grew up in France and Tahiti and began his professional career in Paris under Alain Ducasse, currently recognized as one of the top chefs in the world.
Tempo Restaurant & Bar is the third restaurant, after Fleurie and Petit Pois, that Executive Chef Brice Cunningham has owned. After moving to the United States in 2001, Brice opened Fleurie as co-owner and chef. The modest, yet upscale, fine-dining French restaurant nestled off the (then) sleepy Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA, turned out to be a hit, receiving national recognition and acclaim. Brice continued, with his business partner, to open Petit Pois, a more accessible form of Fleurie, but still longed to have a restaurant that spoke to his dynamic background in France, Tahiti, and other world travels.
Tempo showcases French fare with an international twist, offering dishes such as scallops infused with lemongrass, lamb braised in coconut, and foie gras with naschi pear. Both the menu and the atmosphere embrace the savoir vivre of great food, amazing atmosphere and good friends.
“Tempo” is the underlying beat that stays the same no matter the culture from which it comes, and it is in this vein that the carefully thought-out menu and wine list pay tribute to a dynamic mix of bright and international influences, while still being anchored in the tried-and-true art of French culinary tradition.
WITH PARSLEY PARMESEAN CREMA
GINGER INFUSED CARROT VELOUTÉ
HOUSE-SMOKED SALMON USING
BOWMAN BOURBON BARRELS
PORK MEDALLIONS WITH A CASTLE
HILL CIDER AND BOWMAN WHISKEY GLAZE,
SERVED WITH SWEET POTATO PURÉE
AND PRUNES AND LOCAL APPLES
CRÈME BRULÉ WITH
BOWMAN RUM RAISIN ICE CREAM
CUCUMBER MINT SORBET
WITH BOWMAN GIN FOAM
MONTRESOR SOAVE “CLASSICO” 2014
GEORGES VIGOUROUX “PIGMENTUM”
COTES DE GASCOGNE 2013
D’AUTREFOIS PINOT NOIR 2014
CIGAR ZIN “OLD VINE” ZINFANDEL 2012
OFFLEY TAWNY PORTO
“BARAO DE FORRESTER” (N/V)