I write this while in a full blown food coma (#foodieproblems) with a delightful pain and taste bud/sensory overload, but more over, faced with writer’s dilemma, trying to find a way to describe the past four hours of absolute mastery that just went down at Rogue 24. Long -24 course and 8 drinks- story short, Spike Gjerde had me at hog jowl. Rogue 24 had me upon entrance. What the hell does that mean you ask. Well, in case you have been living under a rock, RJ Cooper’s illustrious Rogue 24 has been debuting Rogue Sessions, a ten week pop-up celebrating some of the nation’s finest chefs as RJ Cooper recovers from heart surgery, with ticket sales benefiting Share Our Strength. It is all a wonderful affair of chef love, community giving, and culinary creativity.
Straight off the press, I was interested in seeing Chef Spike Gjerde go Rogue. His farm-to-table concept in Baltimore, Woodberry Kitchen, is one of my favorite restaurants around, but not the kind of place you find Rogue-esque molecular gastronomy. At Woodberry Kitchen, Chef Spike works closely with farmers and growers throughout the Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic regions to supply the restaurant with the freshest ingredients available, and brought that local fever to the Rogue Session. Throughout the meal, Chef Spike proved over and over that he could break barriers and remain true to seasonal and local flavors, delivering amazing dishes that were packed with a subtle elegance and charm you would have thought he was working in that space for years.