Food Fight {2}

Ilene and I missed the inaugural food fight this past November, so we were excited to make it to the second (of no doubt many more to come) hosted by Mike Florea and Leigh Enderle of Maribelle’s eat + drink.
If you missed Ilene’s full Food Fight article for City Beat, you can read it right {here.}
I had every intention of watching and enjoying the evening & only taking a few phone shots here and there. I should know myself better than that. So, into the mix I jumped, iphone in hand and wishing I had brought my big girl camera.
Here’s a little of what we saw Monday night. ~Gina

written by Ilene Ross
photographed by Gina Weathersby

It was standing room only as Chef Mike Florea introduced the competitors for the second Food Fight. Reigning champ Josh Campbell, Roland Eliason, and Drew Fisher took their places behind the line and began to create dishes based on their mystery basket of crawfish, chuck-eye steak, British fruit cake, Chinese bitter melon, special crab chips, and fresh sumac. Fisher-line cook at Metropole-walked away with the win and headed to round 2.

Round 2 had Aaron Drahmann, Matthew Buschle, and Dana Scott Adkins tackling their basket of extra soft tofu, dried mango, white Zinfandel, hybrid striped bass, frog legs, and apple butter, with Buschle-Chef at Virgil’s Café- coming out on top.

Final round-Buschle and Fisher went head to head over boar rack, chorizo, bamboo worms melba sauce, Kabocha squash, and vegan Monterey Jack cheese, with Fisher taking the final prize, a custom trophy created by Chris Weist of Cincy Sharp.

 

 

No Kid Hungry Event

written by Ilene Ross
photography by Gina Weathersby

The rate of childhood hunger in America is staggering. One in five children in our country goes hungry each day. When children don’t get the food they need, they’re not able to lead healthy, active lives, nor are they able to function or focus properly in school.

This past October, Chef Michael Paley of Metropole partnered with some of Cincinnati’s top chefs-including Jean-Robert de Cavel of Jean-Robert’s Table,  Julie Francis of Nectar,  Jose Salazar of Salazar, Dan Wright of Senate & Abigail Street, and Sarah Ray of Metropole to prepare a meal to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. Since 2005, No Kid Hungry dinners have raised nearly $7 million to support the No Kid Hungry campaign, ensuring that kids across the U.S. have access to the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. On a local level, Share Our Strength partners with The Ohio Association of Food banks, Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger.

Chef Paley sees his position as a member of the food community as vital in playing an integral part in solving the problem.  “The main reason this cause is important to me is because I feel as chefs and restaurateurs we have a unique opportunity to use our standing in the community and our resources to get the word out for charities such as this and really do something with tangible results that makes a difference in our community.  We also have an understanding of food and nutrition and the sources of our food and that knowledge can be beneficial when it comes to solving such a huge issue, such as childhood hunger.  But, without the involvement of the very generous chefs in Cincinnati who donated their time for this event or the involvement of our guests, the event could not be the success that it was.  It was a very uplifting experience and we can’t wait to do it again next year. I have been a good friend of Jenny Dirksen, Share Our Strength’s National Director of Culinary Events for many years.  Jenny and I met years ago when I used to appear at the Big Apple BBQ, at the time she worked for Danny Meyer as the Director of Community Investment for Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City.  For the past several years, while at Proof in Louisville, I tried to get a No Kid Hungry dinner off the ground but our schedules never synced up.  This year we were able to make it happen.”

To Environments and Artists ~ The Anchor

A quick stop to one my favorite restaurants a couple weeks ago for a bowl of creamy, chowder resulted in my running back to my car to grab my big girl camera.
As soon as I walked into Chef dos Anjos’ The Anchor in OTR, my eyes settled upon this beautiful, beckoning room and what was hanging from the ceiling over the main dining table.
This room was already one of may favorite dining spaces, but the new addition has raised the bar. ~Gina

This gorgeous, artisan crafted glass chandelier was not not hanging when I was photographing food, people and interior details over the summer for the restaurant’s new website, which you can see right here.
But, it was there today and I was happy to be there to see it. The artist behind this work of art is Ashlie Beal of The Light Factory. You can find her here.

As someone who believes you should only, ever, add things around you that you love, I was so impressed that Derek has been adding pieces of personality to his restaurant only as he comes across them, and
not just trying to fill space. It is, after all, one more extension of who we are as people and artists.

And, because this is a food community, how about some images of Chef dos Anjos’ beautiful food of which you can enjoy at The Anchor while sitting under Ahslie’s beautiful light. Beauty all around!


photos ©Gina Weatheraby

513{eats} SIDS Fundraiser~Culinary Art {Inked} 2014

It’s Calendar time again and this year, it’s all about ‘CULINARY ART & INK.’ ~Gina

photography by Gina Weathersby
design by Lisa Ballard
written Ilene Ross

The de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation (formerly 7 DAYS for SIDS) is an organization founded by Jean-Robert & Annette de Cavel, a dedicated group of volunteers, and local restaurateurs. Their mission is to raise funds for research, education, and outreach, as well as for the Tatiana de Cavel Scholarship at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State. Annette and Jean-Robert lost their daughter, Tatiana to SIDS in June 2002. Their wish is that no family should have to experience the same devastating loss.

The eat.play.give. Friends and Family Brunch and Silent Auction is this Sunday, October 20th. This family friendly event benefits the foundation and features food and beverages from Greater Cincinnati’s best chefs, restaurants, and purveyors. Enjoy food from: Bouquet, Café Mediterranean, Carlo and Johnny, Coffee Emporium, Cutting Edge Selections, French Crust Café, Gigi’s Cupcakes Florence, Grateful Grahams, Happy Chicks Bakery, JR Table, Keegan’s Seafood, Keystone Bar and Grill, La Poste Eatery, M, Mantra on the Hill, Maribelle’s eat + drink, Metropole, NuVo at Greenup, Orchids at Palm Court, Oriental Wok, Otto’s, Park +Vine, Queen City Cookies, Senate, Shanghai Mama’s, Straits of Malacca, Sung Korean Bistro, Taste of Belgium, Via Vite, WineCRAFT

The 513{eats} 2014 calendar is available to purchase through our website. the paypal link is at the end of the post below. We are proud to make this contribution and we are grateful to all the chefs who gave their time and talents to be a part of this year’s calendar.
All proceeds will benefit the foundation.

 All Pages of this year’s Calendar
The Cover

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Calendars are $39.95 each. Please choose your quantity. 6.75% OH Sales Tax is included in the quantity amounts. Shipping is an additional $5.50
and will ship directly from our lab in approximately 3 weeks after your order.
Contact gina@513eats.com with any questions or concerns.

* 513{eats} is not responsible if your CC/PayPal shipping address is incorrect, so please double check your address on file.
OR
If you are shipping to an address other than your paypal address, please email me that shipping information directly.
OR
****IF YOU ARE SHIPPING INTERNATIONALLY,
PLEASE CONTACT ME BEFORE PLACING YOUR ORDER.****

UPDATE-If you’d still like to purchase a 2014 Calendar, please visit JR’s Table and make your purchase directly from the restaurant.~Gina

Farmer’s Market Table Manners

written by Ilene Ross
photos by Gina Weathersby

If I’m not traveling, Saturday means a trip to Findlay Market. It fulfills all of my weekend needs. What could be a monotonous 20-minute robot-like spree through a fluorescent lit grocery store becomes an unhurried day of shopping, eating, and socializing in the sunshine. These leisurely days are made especially enjoyable because of the relationships I’ve built up over the years with the farmers, shopkeepers, and vendors. The interaction with the people who grow and produce our food is invaluable, and it’s exactly the reason why I choose to shop here as opposed to mindlessly pushing a metal cart down big box store aisles. I especially cherish the fact that my children know how to buy meat from a butcher, and not from under plastic. The social skills they learn from interacting with people while we do our errands are instrumental in forming their character, as well as their self-esteem.
Our local farmers are some of the hardest working people I know, and they’re exceedingly knowledgeable about what they grow as well as how to utilize it. If it weren’t for farmers, we would have no food, and they deserve our utmost respect. If you’re not a frequent market shopper, I urge you to become one, at least on a part-time basis. There is still plenty of produce to be found during the fall season, and most of the farmers will be Findlay until Thanksgiving.

Ok, so now that you’ve decided to become a regular at your local market, there are some simple rules of etiquette to keep in mind while shopping. I’ve compiled a list of these-some come from the farmers themselves- as well as some hints I think will help you enjoy your day. But, most of all, I urge you to slow down your pace, enjoy the experience, and take it all in. The sights, sounds, and smells of the market are what will make it the high point of your week.

•    DO sample before you buy. But only the samples that are offered to you. That’s what they are there for. Farmers and other vendors are justly proud of their wares and love for you to try before you buy. Also, it’s the best way to know that you’re going to like the products you’re getting for your hard earned dollars.

•    But, DON’T be the person who samples everything in the market if you have no intention of making a purchase. Farmers are there to make money, and food used for samples is food that obviously can’t be sold. Also, I think we all know that if you sample something out of a particular box or carton, that’s the one you buy, right?

•    Bring your own bags. *Note, Some markets have banned plastic bags, so check websites before you head out the door.

•    Have your money ready, make your purchase, and get out of the way. Conversation is wonderful-that’s exactly why you’re here- but attempting to monopolize a vendor during peak market hours means less business for them, and pissed off people behind you. Want to enjoy a leisurely chat? Wait until the line has died down, or arrive later in
the day, but, not so late that you’re holding up a much anticipated departure. Better yet, make yourself useful and chat while helping your favorite farmer pack up.

•    Please corral your baby stroller, meandering toddler, dogs, market carts, wandering Grandma, etc. In other words, round up your large group and try not to block the aisles. But, honestly, it really is best to just leave your canine friends at home. Dogs have been known to pee on low lying displays, get underfoot, and, as one of my favorite Findlay shop owners recently told me, her dog has been known to snatch baguettes right out of unwitting shopper’s market baskets. You’ve been warned.

•    Get off your phone and respect the vendor. Look them in the eye while paying and don’t just throw the money on the table. So rude.

•    Arrive with small bills, especially $1s and $5s, particularly if you arrive early in the day. Don’t try to pay for a $1 purchase with a $100 bill.  Exact change is always appreciated as well. Some vendors are now using credit and debit cards via the Square, but keep in mind that they have to pay a percentage for each of those purchases. Cash is always king to a small business owner. Farmers have very slim margins to begin with, and any place they can save money can mean savings for you as well.

•    Respect the posted hours of the market. In the morning, farmers and vendors need time to set up and display their wares. At the end of the day, they want to pack up as quickly as possible and get home. Pretend that the farm stand has a locked door just like any other retail environment. Does Biggs let you in before they officially open because you have to get to your son’s soccer game? NO.

•    Don’t squeeze, poke, prod, caress, fondle, massage, and or otherwise touch the produce. Delicate items like tomatoes and peaches bruise quite easily, and nobody wants to be the one to purchase items that have been manhandled. Damaged goods are lost revenue.

•    Unless a farmer provides a bin especially designed for this purpose, do NOT shuck the corn at the market. I repeat, do NOT shuck the corn at the market. It makes a huge mess, and honestly, your corn will stay fresher until you get home.

•    Keep in mind that the prices at markets might not necessarily be cheaper than the grocery store, but, keep your complaining to yourself, and remember that what you’re buying is the freshest, most nutrient dense produce possible, grown by people you know and trust. You’re also paying for variety, taste, and cost of labor. As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. When it comes to bargaining, would you do that at Kroger? No, I didn’t think so. Unless the farmer offers you a better price towards the end of the day or on a bulk purchase, no haggling allowed.

•    Try new things and be flexible. The market is a great place to try heirloom varieties of vegetables you would never see at grocery stores. They might not look like what you’re used to seeing, but the flavor and freshness is incomparable. If you arrived with a recipe for peach crisp, only to find no peaches, go for the plums, they’ll work just as well. How will you know? Just ask, especially when it comes to preparing the fruits and vegetables. Most of the farmers I know are superior cooks and excel at canning and preserving their own produce. They’re usually delighted to share their knowledge.

•    Be kind and polite. Again, as I said above, farmers work harder than anyone I know to produce the food that we eat. Do NOT disparage someone’s produce. Do NOT complain that someone’s prices are better than someone else’s. Do not EVER leave your garbage on somebody’s market stand. EVER. Pay compliments. Everyone loves to hear how much you’ve enjoyed the “fruits” of their labor. Especially farmers.

•    Respect the growing season. Plan your menus by the calendar and you’ll find the best that nature has to offer. Not sure what’s in season? I love this simple to use site with its colorful chart http://madebysa.com/food/

•    Go early in the day for the best selection and become a regular. Your favorite vendor will save goodies for you and even message you when something special is coming in. Are you someone who does a lot of canning? Guess what? Some farmers might even grow a specific variety just for you if you plan to buy in bulk. That certainly doesn’t happen at Meijer.

•    Bring a cooler bag. You’ll want to keep your items fresh while you shop, and then after while you’re hanging out with friends over a beer in the OTR Biergarten.

 

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