Friday, October 8, 2010

Chefs Collaborative Sustainability Awards Dinner 2010

It may have been a damp and dreary day at beautiful Allandale Farm in Brookline this week but it was certainly a bright and festive event as we headed over to the Chefs Collaborative Sustainability Awards Dinner 2010. We traveled over with the culinary students of Future Chefs and Bunker Hill Community College to attend the dinner and watch them assist the Chefs, prep and serve the entire event. A big congratulations to Ann DiClemente of Future Chefs, who rounded all the students up on campus, got them all transported to Brookline and coordinated the service, without which there would have been no awards dinner at all.

We arrived to a tent full of empty tables and crates of plating and silverware. The students dived right into work.

The Chefs Collaborative chose Boston for their annual summit this year with three days of seminars, discussions and demonstrations at Bunker Hill. As Chef Jose Duarte of Taranta in Boston said to me over dinner: "Why doesn't Bunker Hill's culinary program get more recognition? They are doing a fantastic job!"

Leave it to Executive Director of Future Chefs, Toni Elka, to find a few moments on the way to the event to forage for mushrooms! An accomplished forager, Toni snagged herself some fine maitake mushrooms.

It didn't take long for the tables to go from empty to fully set and decorated.

With a few minutes between tasks the students posed for a group picture outside the main dining tent.

The students get their final briefing from Ed Doyle of Real Food Consulting who coordinated the entire event flawlessly.

Menus were folded and tucked under the napkins at every place setting. The Chefs featured were Wyeth Lynch of of Soulfire Barbecue in Allston, Matthew Maue of Tastings Wine Bar and Bistro in Foxboro, Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway in Providence and Greg Griffie of 606 Congress in Boston.

As soon as the set-up was complete the students sprang right into action on the prep work for the elaborate family style sustainable foods feast.

The fresh bread, chilled wine and this incredible Vermont Creamery Butter were added to the tables.

I knew I was going to love this Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale the minute I saw it. It did not disappoint.

As the guests arrived they enjoyed beer, wine and cider along with this very popular Woodbury Clam Bar.

Finishing touches were put on the New England Farmstead Platters with Handmade Charcuterie and Pickles. Absolutely mouth-watering presentation.

Before long the close to 200 guests were seated and ready to dine.

My dinner table companions included famed Boston Chef Jose Duarte as well as new friends from the Culinary Institute of America and CitySearch Boston.

Chef Jose and guest pass along a platter of Schartner Farms Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Sweet Corn, Pickled Peppers and Basil.

For dinner I opted for the Slow-Cooked Brambly Farm Pig with North Carolina Mop Sauce (a full, 250 pound pig was roasted), Grilled Barramundi with a Warm Bacon Vinaigrette, Roasted Beets, Radishes and Arugula and Vermont Chevre and the New England Heirloom Squash with Brown Butter and Sage. Everything was absolutely perfect.

The Sustainability Award winners for 2010 were:

Chef Peter Davis of Henrietta's Table in Cambridge, Mass. (One of our favorite dining spots which has been using local, sustainable food for years. Search this blog for their Melon Gazpacho recipe. It's one of our most downloaded recipes). Chef Davis was was awarded the Sustainer Award.

Chef Chris Koetke of Laureate International and Kendall College in Chicago, Illinois. Chef Koetke was awarded the Pathfinder Award.

Allison Hooper and Bob Reese of Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery in Websterville, Vermont. (Incredible artisinal products). The creamery was awarded the Foodshed Champion Award.

The real Stars, however, were the students of Bunker Hill and Future Chefs, who received the only standing ovation of the evening.

And then it was time for the servers and volunteers to eat and, of course, clean up. Great job everyone!


  1. Michelle - I encourage all food bloggers to check out the Future Chefs web page. It's a great organization for the next generation of Chefs in Boston.