Great event Saturday out at Chef's Garden/Culinary Vegetable Institute to raise money for the Jones family's initiative to help educate kids about food, called Veggie U. It aims to reach 4th graders nationwide with a curriculum teaching
how to make smart choice about food, everything from what they choose
to eat to understanding the concepts of sustainable
agriculture. A thousand people turned out to taste scores of chef
dishes, taste wines, watch demos eat Jeni's ice cream, and watch an Iron Chef-style
competition. The event raised some good money, but what Lee Jones, in
trademark red bow tie and overalls, told me they really need to kick their
program up to the next level is a corporate sponsor from a larger
company whose goals align with their own. They had an offer from Coca
Cola, for instance, which they couldn't accept, bless them. It's a sad irony of our times that a company doing things the right way would have such a hard time finding support from a larger company who got larger by also doing things the right way. Does one exist? Maybe one of them will realize what the Jones family has realized: The only
way we'll truly change the way this country produces and distributes its food is to
educate our children. Today.
Chef's Garden patriarch Bob Jones and Cleveland television veteran and cookbook author Fred Griffith announcing top chef scores.
One of my favorite tastes of the day, Phillip Foss's cheese-stuffed boneless chicken wing; deconstructed dishes can be done without wit or flavor; this one was succulent and delicious. I'm going to fill mine with sausage!
Jonathan Sawyer, chef of the Greenhouse in Cleveland was there with his wife, chef's widow, and staff serving a delicious goat "porchetta" with quail egg interiour garnish.
Cleveland chef Jonathan Bennett of Moxie and staff sauteed more than a thousand scallops (no easy thing to get a good sear on a thousand scallops with the gaping maw of the public in your face!).
30 minutes for a mystery basket dish (squash blossoms, micro fennel,
tomatoes, walleye), two bunson burners and little prep space: chefs from
reality television, Paula DaSilva (Hell's Kitchen), James Briscione
(Chopped) and Lee Anne Wong (Top Chef season 1).
Judge Alex Guarnaschelli, chef of Butter and now into the TV world herself (her mom was the editor of Charcuterie).
Thanks to the Jones family and the many many volunteers who helped
run the event and of course the great generosity of the chefs and their
staffs who gave their time and food to support Veggie U.
(Photos courtesy of Michelle Demuth-Bibb/The Chef’s Garden)