By Tara Bennett
With a culture centered on food, a rich agricultural history, and year-round harvest, south Louisiana is the perfect setting for going back to the days of rustic farm-to-table dining.
That is the concept behind Dinner in the Field, the main fundraiser for Slow Food Baton Rouge, whose mission is to see lasting change in the food system. The BR chapter originally launched in 2009, and over the years has furthered the Slow Food mission film screenings, farm tours, chefs’ showcases, monthly socials, urban agriculture workshops and school-based programs. This will be the 5th incarnation of Dinner in the Field, which will be held on Sunday, April 19.
“It’s a great cause and I think it’s important for us all to support the idea that local farms and local businesses are what should garner our support,” said Elton Hyndman, owner of Nino’s Italian in Baton Rouge as well as a board member of Slow Food Baton Rouge. “Louisiana has a very unique opportunity in the farm-to-table movement in that we have an extremely long growing season and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to farm, prepare and eat our meals completely in state.”
The rustic dinner setting will feature a farm-to-table seven course meal, consisting of dishes that are prepared with ingredients from the farms and waterways of Louisiana. Each course will feature a unique perspective by some of the top chefs in the Baton Rouge area. Local chefs include Ryan André of City Pork Brasserie & Bar, Mary Koehler and Jenny Cornelius of Nino’s, Andy Papson of Tallulah, David Dickensauge of Bin 77, Chris Wadsworth of Triumph Kitchen, Aimee Tortorich, and Eric Arceneaux of the City Club with the Louisiana seasonal ingredients sourced locally by sponsor IndiePlate.
“There’s going to be a large array of food,” said Hyndman. “There’s going to be all kinds of different protein from goat, to lamb, to venison, to rabbit, and of course numerous local produce.”
Proceeds go towards benefitting the Greauxing Healthy Baton Rouge (GHBR) initiative. GHBR is one of the farm-to-school projects created by Slow Food Baton Rouge, aimed at teaching kids about food systems and nutrition by planting gardens at their schools. Students have been learning to plant, tend, harvest and cook seasonal produce.
“One of my favorite aspects of Dinner in the Field is getting like-minded people and like-minded chefs together in supporting local food and supporting Greauxing Healthy Baton Rouge,” said Hyndman. “We teach children about how important it is to know where your food comes from.”
Tickets are available at $150, which includes a cocktail hour beginning at 4 p.m. New this year are Chefs Table tickets which seat for total of eight guests. The tickets include watching the chefs prepare the meals, along with wine pairings with each course. For more information, visit dinnerinthefieldbr.org.