Any chef will tell you that a really great meal begins with locally-grown, fresh ingredients. With the number of farmers markets now operating, finding organic heirloom tomatoes, fresh peaches and homemade goat cheese is the easy part. Cooking it, well, that's a bit trickier.
To help home cooks turn the raw ingredients into dishes that will truly do them justice, White Gate Farm in East Lyme is offering cooking classes with some of the best chefs in Connecticut.
The classes started with the converions of the farmhouse's old milk room into a commercial kitchen to create a space for bottling fresh sauces.
The retail sells of the sauces became so successul, a full-scale commercial kitchen now fills one wing of the old farmhouse. "We got a bit carried away," said Pauline Lord, who runs the farm with her husband, David. "This kitchen was the next phase in our evolution."
After hearing so many people who come in to buy items such as kale and eggplant ask about the best ways to prepare their produce, cooking classes seemed a logical next step. The whole concept just mushroomed from there.
Classes are scheduled for later this month and in October at White Gate Farm, 83 Upper Pattagansett Rd., East Lyme.
To register, call (860) 739-9585 or email email@example.com
Here's the fall schedule:
September 20, 2-4:30 p.m. White Gate Farm Manager Susan Mitchell will teach a preserving and canning class to show you how to enjoy those lovely heirloom tomatoes all year long. "It's a way to be able to eat locally in the wintertime," Mitchell said. $40.
October 17, 3-9 p.m. Jonathan Rapp of the River Tavern in Chester will give class covering everything from how to harvest fresh produce to how to prepare a full dinner using only locally-produced ingredients. He probably won't have to teach you how to eat it, but you'll get to do that too! $100.
October 25, 4-7 p.m. Bun Lai of Miya's Sushi in New Haven, who Pauline Ford describes as something of a "rock star" in the world of sushi in Connecticut, will be teaming up Emrys Tetu, vegan chef and wellness consultant of Chester, for a lesson in raw food and the fine art of sushi. $125.
October 27, 4-7 p.m. Eddy Farm Manager Haley Fox offers a lesson in farmhouse cooking (and how to make your own cheese!). It's a hearty fall menu of pickled fennel and onion salad, roasted tomato soup, hand-made gnocci with sage brown butter sauce, roasted winter squash, and farmer cheese with honey and herbs. $75.