Babies, and Art, and Food, Oh My!

Art of Food LogoWhew! After nine months (the final few weeks of which were filled with anxiety revolving around questions like, “What the hell am I going to do with a baby?), I now have a daughter, Quinn Reese Burge.  Definitely meaning to brag, Ellie did it 100% natural for both her health physically and mentally and the babies.  It was amazing, but more than that, they are amazing.

Bragging about my wife and daughter out of the way, in the few moments of spare time I’ve had this week, I’ve been tracking down chefs to belatedly nail down this year’s Slow Food St. Louis Art of Food menu.  It’s not quite assembled 100% (come on guys!), but I just wanted to let you know one thing:

If you’re in town this Saturday, and you haven’t got anything planned, and you care a lick about local food, you need to get your butt down there. It’s Slow Food St. Louis’s biggest fundraiser of the year and it’s the reason we’ve been able to give over $12,000 to ten small farms over the last two years to increase the biodiversity of what’s available to us locally.

And if that’s not reason enough for you to go, know this: whatever excuse you have can’t possibly top the fact that I’ll be there and I’ll have a 7 day old daughter, and Josh Galliano will be there and he will have a 13 day old daughter.  (we are of course hoping this means stellar birthday parties!)

Here’s the menu thus far if you’re wavering, and I hope to see you there…

Annie Gunn’s – Lou Rook III

Roasted Viking Village Sea Scallop with Annie Gunn’s Bacon and Ratatouille.

Companion – Josh Allen

1. Panzanella “Bread Salad”  – Companion Roasted Garlic Fougasse w/ local heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers (working to identify farmer this week)

2. Grilled Bread Station with assorted pestos & tapenades

Five – Anthony Devoti

Benne’s Farm Pork confit, sesame cracker, tomato jam and pickled Claverach Farm baby carrots.

Harvest – Stephen Gontram

Harvest Bread Pudding

Kakao Chocolate – Brian Pelletier

1:Bacon Caramels Made with bacon from Hinkebein Hills Farms and local honey.

2: Chocolate Dipped Double-Layer Pates de Fruits

Local Harvest Café – Clara Moore

Horseradish Pickled Heirloom Tomato Relish on a Prairie Breeze Cheese Biscuit

Monarch – Josh Galliano

Prairie Grass Farms Goat Terrine, eggplant tapenade, Greek yogurt, fennel mostarda

Niche – Gerard Craft

white gazpacho, smoked grape sorbet

Sidney Street Café

Rabbit bratwurst with Companion brioche and house made sauerkraut

Winslow’s Home

Winslow’s Farm Cucumbers and Heirloom Tomatoes with pulled Prairie Grass Farm Lamb

and dishes still to come from…

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, Farmhaus, Franco

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A Slow Taste of Tuscany @ Onesto November, 18

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A Slow Taste of Tuscany

St. Louis, MO / November 10, 2009 / www.slowfoodstl.org/sfstl_tuscan_dinner.pdf – Wednesday, November 18, 2009, join Slow Food St. Louis and Welcome Books as they team up with Onesto Pizza & Trattoria to present a celebration and special dinner commemorating the release of Welcome Books’ new book: SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN.

In the spirit of The Oxford Project and American Farmer, SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN, by Douglas Gayeton, is a magical and utterly unique portrayal of rural Italian life, and a tribute to the region’s kaleidoscope of charming local characters whose livelihoods and shared culture center on the growing, preparing, eating, and everyday pleasures of food. Gayeton’s imaginative and interactive portraits are layered with handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, historical facts and sayings that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia toned image. The book also features a preface written by Slow Food International founder, Carlo Petrini, and an introduction by notable Slow Food USA member, Alice Waters.

With support from Zagat, in celebration of the book’s release, Welcome Books has contacted leaders of Slow Food and other sustainable food organizations nationwide to host dinners across North America.

As Slow Food St. Louis co-leader, Bill Burge said, “When Welcome Books contacted me about finding a local Italian restaurant doing things ‘Slow’, Vito was the first person I thought of. Every Wednesday we see him hounding the best farmers at the Maplewood Farmers’’ Market to source the finest products he can for his customers. He obviously feels it’s the right thing to do, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to have teamed up with Vito and Michele.”

The dinner will feature

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Event: Farmers’ Dinner at Atlas, August 31

Atlas RestaurantIf you’re not already signed up for the August 31 Iron Chef Battle Royale at Kitchen Conservatory where my friend (or is that soon to be former friend?) Chuck Friedhoff and I pit ourselves against the ass-trouncing duo of Monarch’s Josh Galliano and Sidney Street Cafe‘s Kevin Nashan, you should consider heading on over to Atlas where owners Michael Roberts and Jean Donnelly will once again host their annual Farmers’ Dinner (which I sadly keep missing every year).

Though it is subject to change, the menu is after the jump.

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(A Wise) Joel Salatin on Government

Why in the world would people who spent a lifetime castigating the USDA for its unabashed promotion of industrial food give it the authority to regulate honest food? This is called intellectual schizophrenia.

via Joel Salatin @ treehugger.com

Slow Food St. Louis 4th Annual Art of Food + Menu!

Art of Food

While there’s more to the event than food, I am damn proud of the lineup of chefs I’ve assembled for the 4th Annual Art of Food. While I am completely biased, you would be hard-pressed to find an event in St. Louis with a more star-powered line up of chefs. Whether you like me and the things I have to say or not, please consider coming out this Saturday to not only support this stellar line up of chefs that are sure to dazzle, but to support Slow Food St. Louis. With the money raised from events like this, Slow Food is supporting biodiversity in our region by offering small grants to farmers growing heritage animals and heirloom vegetables. And to ensure that future generations of eaters crave these delicious foods, the funds raised will also support our current school garden projects as well as fund additional gardens in the future.

Menu and more information about the event after the jump…

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Roger Ebert on Food, Inc.

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Last Friday, Food, Inc. was released to an additional 90 theaters across America including Landmark’s local Plaza Frontenac location.  As my saying the movie is a must-see is as biased an opinion as they come, how about a snip of what Roger Ebert had to say about his viewing of the film?

This review doesn’t read one thing like a movie review. But most of the stuff I discuss in it, I learned from the new documentary “Food, Inc.,” directed by Robert Kenner and based on the recent book An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I figured it wasn’t important for me to go into detail about the photography and the editing. I just wanted to scare the bejesus out of you, which is what “Food, Inc.” did to me.

James Beard Award Side Note

And as a little side note…

The specific James Beard Award Kristen Hinman won was Newspaper Feature Writing Without Recipes. Two other people were also given the award, and I think it’s a particularly telling thing about where we are at the moment as a nation of carnivores, that another one of the winners, Monica Eng, won for an article she wrote for the Chicago Tribune that also dealt with humanely raised pork. Even more telling: it was another Missouri farm, Newman Farm, she mostly wrote about.

Amongst the horrors of confined pork in the Midwest (and to be sure, there is a lot in our state) Missouri has a group of smaller farms going out of their way to make sure things are happening the right way.

Monica Eng’s article, Morality Bites, about her personal need to face the death of her food head on, is also worth reading if you find yourself with a little free time.

Also, some of us will soon be able to taste products made with Newman Farm pork as Mark Sanfilippo has purchased some for his Salume Beddu guanciale.

Event: SLOWednesday with Gerard Craft, Dave Hillebrand and Brett Palmier

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Mark your calendars, this year’s SLOWednesday events start just two weeks from tomorrow, and the first is sure to be a hit…

May 13, 2009: Terra Madre Update

Intended to foster discussion and introduce innovative concepts in the field of food, gastronomy, globalization, and economics, Terra Madre is a bi-annual conference hosted by Slow Food international in Torino, Italy.

The last event was held in October of 2008, and Slow Food St. Louis sent three major delegates to represent them: Gerard Craft of Niche Restaurant, Dave Hillebrand of Prairie Grass Farms, and Brett Palmier of Biver farms. Enjoy this opportunity to offer them a belated welcome home and an ear to listen to their stories.

  • SLOWednesday events take place at the Bottleworks in the Crown Room after the Farmers’ Market, at 7:00 p.m. Talks begin at 7:30 p.m., and Schlafly asks that everyone interested in ordering food and drink place their orders and be settled in before that time. Events are free and open to the public.

Free Food, Inc. Screening Tuesday, April 14

Food Inc Poster

How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families?

Slow Food St. Louis is pleased to announce our participation in a special screening of the new documentary, Food, Inc.

The makers of the film, Magnolia Pictures, and Participant Media, have graciously donated 130 tickets to the Tuesday, April 14th viewing of the film at the Tivoli Theatre.  Officially due out June 12th, this is your chance to not only see what is sure to be a moving film months before opening, but also for free!

Those interested in attending can RSVP at http://sites.google.com/site/foodincrsvp/

Once there, click on the link for St. Louis and enter in your information. It’s first come, first serve, and people will be contacted by the film company – not Slow Food St. Louis – about their tickets.

For more information, continue reading after the jump or visit director Robert Kenner’s website for a complete trailer and reviews of the film.

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Good, clean and fair does not always equal quality

I briefly touched on something similar before, but over at Serious Eats, Ed Levine nails it

I am so down with the food revolution you have no idea. It’s just that I think it’s high time we realize and acknowledge that good intentions and responsible stewardship, and even passion, are not by themselves enough when it comes to making great artisanal food.

You need three things:

Experience: Which means time allowing for lots of trial and error and sufficient apprentice time
Time: To understand how to make it good
Knowledge: That is, you have to know how to do something, and when it’s delicious