By Claire Salinas
“As a chef the most important thing to me is the quality of the food I put on the plate. I don’t want the cheapest or the fastest, I just want the best.”
Most Americans are used to getting what they want fast, but Slow Food Baton Rouge is looking to help the city appreciate the quality of locally grown “slow food,” through their annual Farm to Table showcase, Slow Food Fall Heat.
Eight local chefs will prepare their best culinary confections to be paired with beer provided by local brewery Gnarly Barley, and will be judged by a celebrity panel based on how well their dish is paired with the beer. People’s Choice and Overall Best Dish awards will also be given.
All proceeds from the event will go towards the Slow Food Baton Rouge, which according to the chef on staff, Elton Hyndman, is “focused on educating people about what they’re eating and where it’s coming from and educating children about how to garden organically through our Greauxing Healthy Baton Rouge initiative.”
Here’s what we love about Slow Food Fall Heat.
1. It’s good for local business
Hyndman is the chef-owner of Nino’s Italian Restaurant and Oscar’s Pizza and Ice Cream Joint in Baton Rouge and feels like the farm to table concept is important for promoting local business.
“As a businessman here in town I choose to give my money to people who might give it back to me,” he said. “I don’t want my dollar bill to go off to another state or country. That’s why I like to keep it local.”
2. It’s high-quality food
The other side to the coin for the importance of the farm to table concept for Hyndman is that it provides the best quality food.
“As a chef the most important thing to me is the quality of the food I put on the plate,” he said. “I don’t want the cheapest or the fastest; I just want the best. The tomato that travels the least is going to be the best tomato. The shortest trip from vine to plate is what I’m looking for.”
3. It’s fall and fresh
According to Hyndman the best kinds of foods you can obtain are the freshest.
“We purposefully timed the event in late October with the seasons changing and all the greens that are about to come out right now,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to showcase that.”
4. It’s locally sourced
It’s Hyndman’s hope that the event will be a day that promotes the importance of sourcing locally.
“We will have locally sourced protein, produce and grains at the event, as well as some local farmers in attendance,” he said. “It will be a great day where people can get together and discuss how important it is to source locally.”
Hyndman feels that the event will be a beautiful day where people can appreciate local food.
“It will be a beautiful fall day at the Burden Center. We’re going to have a cool band and a bonfire.”
To Hyndman the farm to table concept doesn’t just promote local business; it helps make the world just a better of a place.
“I think if we were more aware of how we were farming and had more a of a sense of sustainability, we might have a shot at leaving this place a little better off than we found it.”
The Farm to Table showcase will take place on Sun., Oct. 19 at the Burden Center pavilion at the LSU AgCenter’s Botanic Gardens. Tickets are $75 per person and students who show their ID can get a $50 rate. Entrance pays for one glass of beer and a sampling of all the dishes that will be on display for the evening.
Slow Food Fall Heat
Sunday, Oct. 19, 4-7 p.m.
Burden Center at LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens