Chapel Hill, N.C. — Southern Season’s Chef Meets Farmer cooking class series pairs a local chef with their favorite local food producer. Over the course of a couple of hours participants watch a cooking demonstration, learn about local food economies and get to enjoy a meal along with two pours of specially paired wines.
Monday's class featured Chef Greg Gettles of Durham’s Piedmont restaurant and Jamie DeMent and Richard Holcomb of Hillsborough’s 55-acre Coon Rock Farm. The group talked about their relationship, which is particularly close as Coon Rock Farms owns Piedmont. The Durham restaurant has been given accolades including being named a “Next Generation Farm-to-Table Restaurant” by the Wall Street Journal.
Gettles was a natural in front of the crowd telling stories of restaurant kitchens, his creative process and his ability to endlessly shop Amazon for something and nothing all at the same time - “I like tiny things” explaining his Amazon searches. “Can you find me a smaller whisk?” he asked a kitchen assistant to audience chuckles.
Gettles is no newcomer to the farm to table concept as he worked alongside Chef Ben Barker at Durham’s now closed but highly regarded James Beard award winning restaurant Magnolia Grill. Most recently he worked as the sous chef at Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Award Winning restaurant, Heron’s at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. The venue gave him the ability source ingredients from the Umstead’s garden and greenhouse.
The chef explained that he enjoys cultivating relationships with local producers and that collaborating with Coon Rock Farm and other local farmers allows him to have vegetables he’d like to experiment with in the kitchen specifically grown for him. He also enjoys the way farm-to-table dining forces his creativity. Each day he is challenged to create a restaurant menu based on what is available to him from Coon Rock Farm and other local producers.
At Monday’s class, participants enjoyed beef liver pate with focaccia, broccoli soup, pork roulade and rhubarb bread pudding. Cooking questions were answered, farm techniques explained and people left with recipes in hand and a better understanding of the local food economy and farming practices.
There are seven more dinners in this unique class series. Visit Southern Season for detailed class descriptions and to purchase seats.
April 17: John Childers, Midtown Grill & Prodigal Farm
April 25: James Clark, Carolina Inn & Renee Perry and Steven Goodwin, Salty Catch
May 2: Krystle Swenson, Standard Foods & James Edwards, Raleigh City Farm
May 16: Ricky Moore, Saltbox Seafood & Lin Peterson, Locals Seafood
May 22: Brendan Cox, Oakleaf & Alex Hitt, Peregrine Farm
June 20: Steve Goff, Standard Foods & Craig Rogers, Border Springs Farm
June 29: Ben Adams and Wyatt Dickson, Picnic & Ryan Butler, Green Button Farm
Rhubarb is in season now so you can bring the farm to your table with Chef Gettles’ Rhubarb Bread Pudding.
Chef Gettles’ Rhubarb Bread Pudding (pictured above)
- 5 large stalks of rhubarb trimmed and sliced
- 1 c. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 oranges zested and juiced
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 qt heavy cream
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 lb of day old bread (preferably brioche) cubed
1. Combine the rhubarb, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, orange juice and
nutmeg and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb
has broken up.
2. Add the heavy cream and allow it to get piping hot.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and egg yolks until mixed well. Slowly add the hot
rhubarb mixture into the eggs until incorporated.
4. Pour the custard base over the bread cubes. Mix with your hands until mashed.
5. Pour the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan and bake at 275 for 45 minutes until the custard
has set. Cut and serve immediately.
Fran regularly traverses the Triangle seeking out the best in food and drinks. She's a lawyer, food blogger and is prone to burst into song spontaneously. Oh the places she will go. She is also a writer for Raleigh & Co.