A Del Frisco’s Sommelier Smackdown

Posted by Keith Wallace

The Sommelier Smackdown is one of our food & wine pairing classes at the Wine School and one that we gain a lot of attention, even sometimes too much. We brought in the sommelier from Philly’s Del Friscos to our fun little wine pairing battle a while back. This Smackdown, Director of Wine Education Alana Zerbe is pitted against Sommelier Jeffrey Mayfield

Sommelier Jeffrey Mayfield

Sommelier Jeffrey Mayfield

U.S. Marines

Jeffrey Mayfield’s career didn’t quite start like most Sommeliers. But, after serving on active duty for two tours in the U.S. Marines, he fell in love with wine at a Sotheby’s Wine Auction in New York. Shortly thereafter, Mayfield left his job in the stamp auction business and became a Master Sommelier.

Pappas Bros in Dallas

In 2006, Mayfield gained firsthand experience working with Master Sommelier Barbara Werley at the prestigious Pappas Bros. Steakhouses in Dallas, Texas. Mayfield worked his way up from Assistant Wine Director at Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse in Houston to the Wine Director position. Mayfield was in charge of Junior Sommeliers and helped build a wine list of over 1700 selections, representing all world’s major regions.

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel

After several years of running an extensive and successful wine program in Texas, Mayfield was offered Head Sommelier at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, PA, in 2012. Mayfield worked with Executive Chef Jon Cichon to create a unique, diverse, and broad wine list across the globe.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Mayfield started his career at Philadelphia’s Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in 2014 as the Wine Director. On any given night, you can find Jeffrey working on the Del Frisco’s dining room floor, guiding guests through the extensive wine list. Mayfield looks forward to continuing his education and sitting for his Advanced Certification in September. He is passionate about California Cult Classic wines, new and exciting wine-makers, and all of the hidden gems on Del Frisco’s carefully curated wine list. Mayfield currently resides in Center City, Philadelphia.

Alana Zerbe of the Wine School

Sommelier Alana Zerbe

After spending a decade adding letters to her last name — from J.D. to LL.M. to C.S.W. — Alana has finally found her home in Philadelphia, working as the School’s Director of Operations. Her favorite place is in the classroom, teaching everything from Wine 101 to Advanced wine courses. If you google “passion” and “pinot,” you’re likely to hit on Alana’s name: Since 2011, she has taught all of our classes on the subject. It’s her life’s great love, after her husband and rescue dogs.

 The Food & Wine Pairing Menu

  • Balsamic-cured Pears With Prosciutto and Burrata
  • Lobster & Fennel Pot Pie
  • Duck Rillettes with Violet Mustard
  • ‎Pecorino Romano with honey and black truffles.

The Recipes

Roasted Pears With Speck and Burrata

  • 2 pears (the harder kind such as D’Anjou)
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of chestnut honey
  • 3 slice of speck
  • 1 lump of burrata

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel and slice the pears into 1 inch slices. Toss with the balsamic vinegar and honey.

Roast for 20 minutes in the oven until lightly crisp.

Once the pears have cooled slightly, top with a sliver of prosciutto and burrata.

Lobster Pot Pie

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups clam juice
  • pinch of star anise
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato concentrate
  • 3/4 pound cooked fresh lobster meat
  • 1 1/2 cups peas
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

Saute the onions and fennel with the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the flour and cook on low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the clam juice, Pernod, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the heavy cream.

Cut the lobster meat into medium-sized cubes. Place the lobster, peas, onions, and parsley in a bowl (there is no need to defrost the vegetables). Pour the sauce over the mixture and check the seasonings. Set aside.

For the crust, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the lard and butter and pulse 10 times until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough in half and roll out each half to fit a 9 or 9 1/2-inch round by 2-inch high ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish. Fill with the lobster mixture, and top with the crust. Crimp the crust and brush with the egg wash. Make 4 or 5 slashes in the top crust and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Duck Rillettes

  • 3 lb. duck legs
  • ¼ cup Herbes de Provence
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 10 cups duck or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed, plus freshly ground, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 bay leaves

Toast points, for serving
Cornichons, pickled carrots, onions, radishes, or turnips, for serving

1. Combine all ground herbs, salt, and Herbs de Provence. Coat duck legs with mixture and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Shake off excess spice mixture and transfer to an 8-qt. Saucepan. Add bay leaves and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered slightly, until meat is very tender, 1½–2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool in the pan until room temperature; cover and chill overnight.

3. Next day, uncover and scrape solidified fat from top of pan; set aside. Pull duck from the pan and discard skin, bones, and gristle; finely shred meat. Strain and reserve ¼ cup stock; save remaining stock for future use. Transfer meat to a bowl and add reserved stock; stir to combine.

4. Tightly pack rillettes into a 1-qt. Baking dish or five 6-oz. ramekins. Melt reserved fat plus 1 cup duck fat in a 1-qt. Saucepan over medium heat; pour over rillettes; cover with plastic wrap, and chill until fat is solid. To serve, push fat aside and spread rillettes on toast points; garnish with cornichons or pickled vegetables, if you like. To store, redistribute fat over rillettes and cover with plastic wrap; keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

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