In an effort to bring farms closer to the public and to allow people the chance to mingle with chefs who patronize local farmers, Spiaggia Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano, and his wife, Cathy, hosted the first Farm to Fork Fest at Terzo Piano last night in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute.
The three-hour, walk-around affair saw dozens of eager grazers milling about, talking with chefs from Terzo (Chef di Cucina Meg Colleran Sahs), Lula Cafe (Jason Hammel), Mado (Rob and Allie Levitt) and June (Josh Adams) and distillers and brewers from local producers Koval, North Shore Distillers, Seedling Farm and Two Brothers Brewing, which all had a variety of spirits including locally produced cider, absinthe, aquavit and whiskey.
While people dined on plates like Colleran's fluffy housemade potato gnocci with braised goat ragu and fresh chevre and Adams' perfectly grilled skirt steak with bone marrow aioli, they had the chance to discuss where the food comes from—and a number of the popular local farms, including Slagel Family Farms, Green Acres Farm, Nichols Farm and Three Sisters Garden, were represented.
Mantuano said he hoped this would become an annual affair and could possibly grow to include other Chicago restaurants who buy from and work with local farmers. The idea was to really show people that by utilizing meat and produce raised locally that they're not only helping the environment, but that the food also simply tastes better.