Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Foodies will know that Cat Cora is the the first woman to win Iron Chef America. She is also the current Executive Chef of Bon Appetit Magazine. She's written two books, just opened a new SoCal Restaurant and happened to be in the studio at The Production Room Santa Barbara yesterday, recording a promotional announcement for "Vegas Uncorked" featuring 4 days of events with celebrity chefs and vintners.
As we were setting up the session with David Miller at R&R Partners in Las Vegas, I had a few moments to visit the chef.
She is petite, attractive, fit and has a bit of intensity about her. She came in ready to work. As we set up I told her that I grow organic produce on a farm in Canada. I asked her what she'd like to find in the farmer's market. She opened up and shared some really great suggestions with me. She likes to work with what she finds in the local markets.
We talked about baby herbs, french carrots, baby beets, mixed greens and fava beans. She asked what we grew and I described the mix of fun and gourmet varieties we usually plant along with down home favorites like peas and potatoes.
Cat is a southern girl. Her voice retains a hint of the deep southern notes of Jackson Mississippi and her manner caries a bit of old southern hospitality. Along with her modern style, she's the traditional voice that says, "Here. Y'all come and eat."
I appreciated finding that her approach is very much in tune with what's fresh and local. No need to fly in baby artichokes from Argentina when the local market has other interesting choices to work with.
For me, preparing and eating food is the natural result of growing and harvesting crops. And part of what I'm doing is working to create sustainable farms and local markets by simply providing all the ingredients of a really good meal.