Monday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending my first Nosh Talks event at Monday Night Brewing Company.
Nosh Talks is a local Atlanta organization founded by Karen Pagano that brings together the Atlanta restaurant industry in networking events and panel discussions. Atlanta’s food industry is booming but is a tight knit group that rally’s together to support each other and the community. It’s so inspiring!
The panel consisted of three chefs and four farmers:
The farmers talked about what a “typical” day looks like for them and what it takes to grow the crops, plan the inventory, communicate with the restaurants what they’ll have, and distribute those goods to the restaurants.
The chefs talked about “retroactive menu planning” and how they base their menus off what the restaurants will have on hand for that week. And in all honesty, that’s how cooking should be and that’s exactly what they expressed. All of the chefs said they enjoyed the challenge of never knowing exactly what they’ll have for the week and enjoyed learning about new produce from the farmers.
It was fascinating to truly understand each side and how much goes into true farm to table restaurants. It’s also discouraging to learn about so many restaurants that may label themselves as farm to table but have really only sourced a local product once in the past month.
Just like when you’re shopping for food and can’t believe the label “natural”, when you’re going out to eat, really do your research on the restaurant. Plan to spend a bit more for a true farm to table restaurant but it’s so worth it. You’re paying for your neighbor to grow the organic crops and harvest them and you’re paying for a well-trained chef to properly craft them into a delicious, artful dish.
As the executive chef from Gunshow noted, if you’re a chef and can’t taste the difference between locally sourced produced and mass distributed produce, then you shouldn’t be calling yourself a chef. This hits the nail on the head and why I am so passionate about supporting local.
The farmers know their products and the chefs know how to prepare them. They work in this beautiful harmony and have formed incredible relationships.
I was so inspired from this panel to continue to seek out the true farm to table restaurants in the Atlanta area and continue to support those that I love.
*Note: Photography credit to Brandon Amato