Photo by Fernandina Observer.
The sleepy little town of Fernandina Beach north of Jacksonville, Fla. has seen an uptick in interest lately among culinary circles. Sure, the area has been known to North Florida residents as a fun place to spend a summer afternoon at its eclectic bars and scattered eateries. It is also known as a place for a weekend of partying at the Isle of Seven Flags Shrimp Festival every year. But, aside from the posh restaurant at the nearby Ritz-Carlton, fine dining was something of a mystery to the area. So, when Chef Kenny Gilbert opened his Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen in the historic town, it caused quite a stir. To celebrate his food as well as the burgeoning North Florida beer scene, Intuition Ale Works has teamed up Chef Gilbert to create a beer dinner that is sure to be as delicious as it is exciting.
Gilbert, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, started early in his culinary career with the encouragement and help of both his mother and his father. From his mother Gilbert learned the basics of cooking; measuring, preparing and presenting dishes. From his father, he learned the art of BBQ from grilling to saucing.
By age 11, the budding culinary virtuoso had cooked his first Thanksgiving dinner on his own to the delight of his proud parents. In high school he was known to cook meals for his swimming team after practices and meets. His cooking skills were lauded by all and it was no surprise when he expressed a desire to pursue cooking as a career.
According to his website, Gilbert, “…attended The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute where he received a degree in Culinary Arts. Upon graduation, Kenny relocated to Jacksonville, FL, where he joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as an apprentice in the garde manger kitchen of their Amelia Island property. Kenny worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine at the age of 23 at the Ritz, helping to consistently secure the AAA Five Diamond Award for the property throughout his tenure there.”
Later, the Chef designed and opened the Jacksonville Beach favorite, Nipper’s Beach Grill a Caribbean-inspired eatery. He was also a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef television program.
For the beer dinner with Intuition Ale Works, the chef worked to create a menu supremely satisfying Deep South-inspired fare.
Starters (served family style)
- Foie Gras Drop Biscuits / Summer Truffle Maple Butter
- Baked Texas Oysters / Creamed Mustard Greens, Tasso Ham, Cornbread Gratin
- Assorted Pickles
Paired with Intuition One Spark Kolsch.
Second Course (served individually)
- Pimento Cheese Gnudi / Pulled Smoked Alligator Ribs / SC BBQ Emulsion / Baby Limas
Paired with Intuition Riverside Red.
Main Course (served family style)
- Smoked Crispy Pig Head
- Fried Whole Local Catfish
- Sauces: Alabama White BBQ Sauce, SC BBQ Sauce, Tomato Molasses BBQ Sauce, FL Citrus Mop, Hot Tomato Molasses, Datil Pepper Hot Sauce
- Sides: Corn Casserole, Collard Greens, Steamed Squash, Roasted Beets & Pecans, Hoppin John, Bacon Fat Potatoes
Paired with Intuition Amber Block Skate Ale, infused with a surprise from the chef.
- Caramelized White Chocolate Cake / Pickled Cherries / Vanilla Almond Purée + Crushed Brittle
Paired with Intuition Coffee Dark Star.
The event takes place Thursday, July 23rd at 6:00 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $55 plus administration fee and may be purchased at this link: