Page 70 - WCM 2021 Winter
P. 70

 Matthew Crandall
At tableX the presentation is a visual reflection of the care and art that Chef Alex White puts into every dish.
“It’s mind-blowing. The most unbelievable thing is that you’re in South Paris, eating the most luxurious food. I would easily rank a tableX meal in the top
five meals I’ve had around the world.” This praise came from Sam, a fellow diner I met at xVault Pub & Provisions. Located in an historic building at Market Square, the tiny epicenter of downtown South Paris, the restaurant offers an exquisite seven-course fixed menu meal called tableX. When asked if there was a standout dish, Sam (who has dined at tableX several times) shared that, “There wasn’t one particular dish — it was the journey. Each dish elevates the next dish; one isn’t complete without the rest. From the cards that explain the inspiration of the dishes to the in- gredients, it’s all part of a bigger picture. Through the story, you get a glimpse into Alex’s culinary journey.”
Alex White was born in the Boston area and raised by an Italian mother. She brought him to Maine when he was 3, and was a big influence in develop- ing his taste and love for food. After graduation, he went on to a pre-law program in Miami, and it was there that he realized that he wasn’t meant to be in an office. While reflecting on what felt natural and comfortable, his sights landed on food and he began
working in restaurants. He started in Miami at The Dutch, working under James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini. “It was run like a New York City restaurant — like ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ times 8 or 9,” Alex recalled. Here he learned the hard lesson, after being chastised for dropping a ramekin, that accidents — even if nothing breaks — mean that you aren’t focused. He took from this a desire to be perfect in every aspect of his food, and a “mise en place” mind- set. This French phrase means “everything is its place,” and describes the intentional, and often meticulous, preparation and process that is practiced in profes- sional kitchens around the world. “The highest level is the most beautiful level of cooking,” Alex told me. “It seems crazy, but meticulousness makes a difference. There are things that the guests may never pick up
on, but receive through the passion and the love you bring to what you do.” He travelled next to Boston, and worked under renowned chef and restaurateur Barbara Lynch. He worked his way up the ranks at the intimate and acclaimed fine dining Menton, and by age 21, had become sous chef at one of the best restaurants in his hometown.
After deciding that he didn’t like crowded cities and leaving Boston, White was recruited as the chef for
Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine

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