Why is Farm to Table important to you for your culinary needs?
It’s a nice peace of mind. We know where our produce is coming from, who’s handling it, keeps our chefs on their feet with the seasons changing throughout the year. Also, it’s awesome knowing that our money spent on food cost is going directly to a Farmer and not a chain of vendors, couriers, or completely different state.
Does Farm to Table seem important to your patrons?
I think it adds some value to the guests perception. I’d like to think our guests understand that these ingredients aren’t grown easily; consideration for the farmer’s hard work, cost, and lifestyle. As a patron on my off days, I like knowing that my dollar is spent on a family and their farm.
What are your seasonal, locally sourced favorite indgriedents from Hat & Heart farms?
Okra, onions, and peppers. These are some of my favorite ingredients from Bradley and his partner. The onions are delicious. Sweet and great eaten fresh in relishes or as garnish. The Okra is great pickled or grilled.
Is there a connection or inspiration you feel as a chef by creating dishes where you know where your ingredients Are sourced?
There’s definitely inspiration from the ingredients themselves and the farmers. Also, nostalgia from many many seasons prior to our current. Looking back at how we’ve created dishes and how we can do it differently or better, or keep it the same ’cause it was just that delicious the first time. Sometimes just asking the farmer how they enjoy their ingredients is just as inspiring.
What is the plus side for sourcing seasonally in your Farm to Table approach and the downside or challenges?
The plus side is again that peace of mind, constant flow of creativity, and a feel good ethical practice of sustainability when supporting your local farmers.
The downside is Texas’ seasons for produce. Certain ingredients go by so fast and it’s a big challenge to keep a consistent menu for so long when some ingredients are gone in a matter of weeks. But also it’s a fun challenge for the creative process. So, it’s still worth it.
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