Cookbook author and award-winning Las Vegas chef Jeffrey Weiss had never been to New Hampshire before he agreed to partner with The Brook Casino in Seabrook for a series of special events – but that didn’t faze him.
“I’ve cooked all over the world, and I love doing events,” says Weiss, whose James Beard Award-nominated cookbook, Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, chronicles his time cooking at Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain. “It was kind of a no brainer, because I love doing fun things with great people.”
In early March, Weiss took his first trip to Seabrook, with Vegas-based beverage expert Gil Hayon, to helm the first event in a new series at the employee-owned charity casino. The Whiskey Experience paired spirits from around the world, including Oban 14 Year Scotch and Nikka Coffey Malt from Japan, with bites like house-cured salmon and bourbon chocolate balls. But the highlight was surely the station featuring Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea bourbon – it was paired with a bone marrow luge.
“It just it tickled my heart that people were lining up to do the bone marrow luge,” says Weiss, who also operates Valencian Gold, a tapas and live-fire paella restaurant in Las Vegas. “People were having a blast!”
Those types of unique experiences are exactly what the team at The Brook are hoping to bring to the casino, which has been operated by Nevada-based Eureka Casino Resort since 2019.
“We’re providing these really unique opportunities and fun moments that folks can’t necessarily get anywhere else,” Weiss says.
So, while he wasn’t ready to let the cat out of the bag for the Cinco De Mayo party (scheduled for Friday, May 5, natch), the plans definitely include a selection of unique tequilas and craft tequila cocktails, elevated small bites, and live salsa music. If the weather cooperates, the event will be held on The Deck, the property’s lively outdoor space, complete with fire pit, that overlooks the iconic odds board from former days as a greyhound racetrack.
Other events include a pig roast on May 27, a classic New England lobster and clambake (July 8), two special Spanish Summer Nights (July 14 and 15) featuring Chef Weiss’ legendary paellas, and an autumn festival (Sept. 30). Later in the year, Chef Weiss will spearhead a winter-themed Whiskey Experience (Dec. 15) and Wine Experience (Dec. 16).
The Brook’s CEO Andre Carrier, who grew up in the area, says his team has spent the past two years remodeling and reinventing the former dog track, with expanded gaming and a state-of-the-art showroom, in the process growing it into the largest charity casino in the country. Since Eureka acquired the property, it has donated over $8 million to local organizations like Make-A-Wish New Hampshire, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire, Annie’s Angels, and Rockingham Nutrition Meals on Wheels. The organization is on pace to donate another $6 million in 2023.
“Now, it’s time to elevate our dining and culinary game, so that we make good on our mission to be one of New England’s best nights out,” Carrier says. “Chef Jeff’s events are going to be can’t-miss culinary parties, perfectly tailored to a broad audience that enjoys unique, food-centric events. We will continue to level up our dining experiences so there is something for everyone at The Brook.”
The Brook, 319 New Zealand Rd., Seabrook, NH, 603-474-3065, www.livefreeandplay.com