Friday, March 6, 2009

Newport Restaurant Group Chefs up to the challenge: The Farm Fresh Initiative at the Wintertime Market

The chefs of Newport Restaurant Group, Fresh Bucks at the ready

If you're familiar with the Providence Wintertime Farmers Market, you already know about the stunning array of locally-produced foods available all winter long. This past Saturday, the Wintertime Market provided inspiration for chefs from each of the Newport Restaurant Group's restaurants.

On Saturday morning at the start of the market, teams of chefs from each of the Newport Restaurant Group's restaurants arrived at the Wintertime Market at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket to participate in their first Farm Fresh Initiative.

The teams were given Fresh Bucks to choose a selection of ingredients that they would turn into specials featured that evening in each restaurant. As the group gathered the excitement was palpable, most went out and scouted the market to see what might be waiting for them. The market was filled
with so many amazing locally grown and raised options including a variety of greens, apples, cider, potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, winter squash, oysters, beef, pork, cheeses, eggs, honey, and maple syrup. There were also many artisan products; jams, jellies, chutneys, artisan breads and pastries, nuts and chocolates.

The chefs were extremely enthusiastic as they surveyed all the booths with an abundance of great local options in the winter in New England. After perusing and selecting an assortment of ingredients they headed back to their respective restaurants where they brainstormed and finalizing their ideas. Before beginning their prep, they also sent out a teaser email of what they would be offering. The creations were amazing; many chose not just one menu item but multiple course offerings.

See for yourself:

From Trio:

~Farm Fresh Salad – Jeffrey’s baby greens, mutsun apples, Westfield Farm goat cheese, Purple Pear ginger pecans + Smithfield honey
~Entrée - Windmist Farm Beef Pot Pie - slow simmered beef stew, Maplewood Farm potatoes, carrots, green peas + house made pastry crust
~Dessert - Crème Brulee - Ocean State chocolate, Zephyr Farms custard + Grand Marnier meringue

From The Boathouse:
~Westport Farm fresh egg bruschetta ~ Olga’s bread with Westport Farm fresh eggs, Jeffrey’s greens, Cato Farms “Bridgid’s Abbey” cow’s milk cheese and Marcia’s Pepper Jelly
~ D’artagnan pasture raised rack of lamb with Simmons Farm Bok Choy, Allen Farms oregano and
orange mint, Marcia’s pear ginger chutney, Capri goat cheese and Olga’s Cup and Saucer bread

From 22 Bowens:
~Blue corn crusted Cod loin over chipotle braised yellow eyed beans, topped with a citrus salsa.

From Waterman Grille:
~ Matunuck oyster on the half shell with a honey dew melon and wasabi mignonette
~ Kenyon’s Blue corn meal crusted Boston Blue Cod served with roasted creamers and an Asian vegetable slaw finished with Farm Fresh grapefruit segments and Jeffrey’s micro greens.
~ 16oz.Hereford Ribeye with Farm Fresh butternut squash fries and Agraria Farm apple and shallot brown sugar demi glaze

~ Fresh strawberries with Aquidneck farm granola, vanilla ice cream finish with lavender scented honey and fresh mint

Castle Hill Inn's Chile-braised Simmons Farm Pork and Matunuck Little Neck Stew

From Castle Hill Inn:
~Amuse ~ Kenyons Cornmeal Jonny cakes, topped with Blueberry preserve crème fraiche
~Chile Braised Simmons Farm pork and Matunuck Farms little neck stew, Czajkowski Farms Butternut squash and potatoes, Allen Farms Pea shoot pesto topped on a Seven Stars Crostini

The Mooring's Housemade Narragansett Creamery Ricotta Ravioli

From The Mooring:
~ Housemade Narragansett Creamery ricotta ravioli, butter poached Maine lobster, Farm Fresh butternut cream, Seven Stars Focaccia
~ Grilled beef tenderloin, Harmony Hill Farm egg and crab frittata, chipotle hollandaise, Allen Farms pea shoots

Newport Harbor Corporation, which is the parent company of Newport Restaurant Group, believes that utilizing locally grown, organic produce in their dishes supports the local farming industry, enhances the connection between the plate and its source, and ultimately increases the quality of the culinary experience.

This initiative brought that belief to life and gave an opportunity to a team of talented young chefs to meet and talk with the growers and producers and purchase their products right from the source. Building these connections and highlighting the Wintertime Market are two great reasons to love this project, the other is delicious, fresh food prepared with attention and thoughtful consideration.

Posted by Jess

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