Beast + Bottle's Paul Reilly one of only eight chefs in the world to win the Jean-Louis Palladin Work Study Grant
"Farm to Table" is not just a buzzword in my kitchen. It's a code to cooking and how to live. I've scoured farmers' markets looking for that local ingredient that no other chef is currently using, and rumbled through crates of peaches to find only the exquisitely ripe ones for a summer salad. I've made lasting connections with bison ranchers and partnered with local lamb farmers to bring in whole animals for in-house butchery.
Colorado is blessed with a plethora of local ingredients. As a chef, I've done everything I can to understand how food arrives on our plate, at a local level. However, what Colorado lacks rests 2,074 miles to the east. For me, the ocean and its bounty is the last frontier of how to really grasp what "farm-to-table" means. Though I grew up on the East Coast, my passion for food really blossomed when I moved to Colorado. While I serve fish and shellfish on my menu, understanding how it arrives at my kitchen door does not have the same intensity as other land-based products. Being awarded the Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Work/Study Grant would help me achieve my professional goal of fully understanding the American "farm-to-table movement".
I've discussed the nurturing process of livestock with their ranchers and know when a farmer has to sow the land to plant their produce. But I really have no idea what it means to be a day boat fisherman or what makes a diver scallop so special. Exactly where is Georges Bank? Why is wild seafood better, and what are the processes of line-caught versus trolling?
To become a better chef, this is a tool I need. I would pass this knowledge on to my staff and thus we would become a stronger team and subsequently, a better restaurant.