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Chef Jan Parker's culinary talents wow military spouses

The Lewis Community Wine Club's last event of the year

Members of the Lewis Community Wine Club celebrate with a wine dinner. Photo credit: Caryn Anderson

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The Lewis Community Wine Club recently hosted their last event of the year with a wine dinner cooked by Chef Jan Parker, who is also a member of the club. The wine pairings were selected by members Angie Melnyk and yours truly, who have headed the club for the past two years. The group is a subclub of the Lewis Community Spouses Club (LCSC) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM).

The Wine Club meets once a month from September to May. The September meeting is typically a beginning wine tasting with four reds and four whites, so that all the members have the same knowledge base going forward. Each month has a different theme, such as "bring your favorite wine to share with the group and why you like it" or "celebrity wine month." Some themes answered questions such as, "Are those 15 bottle packages of wine on Groupon any good?" or, "Is boxed wine drinkable?" The answer, it depends. Some were good, others not so much. Each month, the group also played a game called Left, Right, Center, which raised money to purchase the wine for the last event.

Last year, the club purchased an expensive bottle of a red wine and white wine. The club members were unanimous that although both wines were very good, we had tasted equally good wines at a much lower price point. For this year's final event, wines were chosen that had significance in wine history. Some were lower in price, like a white zinfandel, which was the top selling wine in the 1980s, and the innovation of putting wine in a can, like Mancan, a wine to appeal to men, white wine blend. On the high end, we spent more on a French Champagne and a red wine blend that were well worth the extra cost.

Parker crafted an eight-course meal which could compete with any of the finest restaurants in the area. She started with asparagus with hollandaise, lardons, croutons and herbs. Next course, a Ricotta Gnocchi, fresh peas and shaved radish. Meat courses included smoked Pimenton pork belly with Parmesan polenta, charred broccolini and red pepper flake oil, a spice rub ribeye with spinach, strawberry, bacon, crispy shallots and balsamic vinaigrette, and a parsley lamb meatball with garbanzo bean puree.  Parker flexed her baking muscles with a bleu cheese puff pastry topped with blueberry gastrique. A fun course was the mini corn dogs with curry ketchup, which were paired with the Mancan wine. For dessert, she made beignets with salted caramel and cranberry jam, dark chocolate Pot de Crème with crushed caramel corn and a specialty shortbread.

The meal was a great end to our Wine Club Year. To join next year, attend the LCSC Super Sign Up in August. For more information, visit: Visit Chef Jan Parker at to see what she is up to. Her pop-ups in local spaces are very popular, and she was featured on Eater Seattle. She also offers a variety of classes for both adults and children.

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