This week is the final post of a 3 part series featuring the Firefly Grill’s New Year’s Eve menu. But first, you need to know Kristie and Chef Niall are giving away a New Year’s Eve dinner for 2! If you’d like to enter to win this special complementary dinner, simply email your funniest holiday dinner mishap story to: Maryelaine@ffgrill.com The top favorites will be posted on the Firefly Grill FaceBook page and everyone will get a chance to vote for the winner!
Back to the kitchen…
Mada: Do you think chefs are artists or craftsmen?
Chef Niall: I think they’re both. There’s a really good blend there. I’m always in this conversation. When the “artist” is working, there’s a ton of pressure all around especially when designing the menu.
Then the “craftsman” comes out and joins the “artist” when it’s time to execute. Then I’m usually hours by myself, closed off, drawing inspiration from several of my 1000’s of cookbooks. The thought process starts piecing itself together.
Mada: What’s the atmosphere like in the kitchen and in the front of the house?
Chef Niall: It’s electric! Everyone, our whole team, is excited. It’s a lot like the energy you feel in the theater on opening night.
Mada: I’m so curious. When you do an entire evening when the whole restaurant is dedicated to a tasting menu, what’s going on in the kitchen during service that’s different than any other night?
Chef Niall: I believe the difference between a good restaurant and a great restaurant is in the attention to detail. So usually with these tastings we have 1 person to 1 dish. I have 1 person who is solely responsible for each dish. If we have a 12 course tasting with 5 different entrees offered, that means we have 17 different items are being picked up throughout the evening.
That means we have 17 people manning each dish. Every dish gets the ultimate treatment. We bring all the levels up this night because we’re able to get intense with all the details from how the dishes are prepared to how they’re plated to how they’re served. Everything that happens, happens in the details.
The nice thing about when we’re building menus for this, there aren’t any parameters. It’s all people on deck. I really get to go through the catalog. It’s a lot like football. Depending on the players you have on the field, those are the plays you can use. If we want to do a pour over, we can do that because we have the man power on New Year’s Eve. We pull all of our resources together for this one night. We can do anything and it’s always exciting to see how it comes together.
What to Drink on New Year’s Eve
Firefly Grill’s Amaretto Snow Storm is on the top of my cocktail list this year. I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful blend of amaretto, Buffalo Trace bourbon cream, heavy cream, topped with a cherry, chocolate cigar shavings, and caramel drizzle. Nom, nom, nom… It’s smooth, sweet and creamy. It’s only short coming: it goes down waaaaaay too easy!
How to Make an Amaretto Snow Storm Cocktail
After having one of these at the Firefly the other night, I tried my hand at making my own at home. I hoped it would help inspire Mother Nature to give us a white Christmas, but alas… she did not. But the Amaretto Snow Storm turned out mighty fine! The recipe below is super easy and makes 2 cocktails, but get ready to make more!
- 2 ounces Amaretto
- 2 ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon cream
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cherry juice
- caramel syrup
- chocolate shavings & 2 cherries
Add the first 4 ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into 2 glasses with ice. Top with a cherry, chocolate shavings and drizzle with caramel syrup. Enjoy!
New Year’s Eve
This is a big night. One of the things I truly respect and admire about Niall and Kristie is how deep their level of gratitude is for each person who comes to Firefly. They are immensely touched and honored that people both near and far choose to come to the Firefly Grill to celebrate the momentous events of their life. Wether it’s an engagement, a retirement, a wedding, a Witchfest, a birthday, or the dawning of a New Year, Kristie and Niall and their team are humbled to be a part of each and every life in these special moments.
I hope you can join us at the Firefly Grill for New Year’s Eve. I think there’s a few spots left. Call 217-342-2002 to make your reservations. But above all else, my wish for you is that your New Year’s Eve sparkles with so much love, laughter, good friends and cheer that they spill over to fill all of your 2019 with the same.