Slow Food is quick to organize chef mingle
In 2011, a group of Parkites who liked the idea of using, cooking and eating local, sustainable foods established a chapter of the internationally renowned Slow Food, a grassroots movement that "links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment."
The group came up with a local mission that "celebrates and promotes the pleasures of locally and sustainably grown food," said Debbie Kulig, who is the coordinator for an upcoming event called the Park City Utah Farm Chef Mingle.
"One of the goals of the nonprofit organization Slow Food Park City is to encourage local food professionals — including chefs, restaurant owners, managers, staff — to use offer local and sustainable products on their menus," Kulig told The Park Record. "And it doesn’t just stop at public eateries, because we also work with the local school districts and the Park City Medical Center to do the same."
That’s the main reason for the chef mingle, which will be held Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Park City Farmers Market at Canyons’ Cabriolet parking lot.
The event will give local producers the opportunity to meet with local food professionals, and, hopefully, form partnerships, Kulig said.
"The importance of hosting a mingle is to show that this area offers so much high-quality, sustainable local foods," she explained. "We have an abundance of local foods here."
The idea to host a mingle came to Kulig after she read an article that the Utah State University Extension’s sustainability department received a United States Department of Agriculture grant.
"These grants are used to host mingles throughout Utah," Kulig said.
She contacted Roslyn Brain, USU’s sustainability department chairwoman, and offered to host a mingle in Park City.
"Ros was happy to work with me on this," Kulig said. "There will be a total of five mingles held in the state this fall and we’re going to have one of them."
The next step was finding a location and deciding on a format.
"We decided to present the mingle as a tradeshow-like [mixer]," Kulig said. "We will serve food and beverages during this event."
To get an idea of what type of food she should serve, Kulig spoke with her son-in-law, who happens to be a chef.
"He told me that many people who cook for a living like to go out and eat pizza and drink beer when they aren’t working," Kulig said laughing. "So I decided to serve pizza and went to talk with Volker Ritzinger, the producer of the Farmer’s Market, about his pizza oven."
Ritzinger told Kulig she could hold the mingle at the market, and after nailing down the time and date, she began reaching out to producers and professionals.
"I gathered a committee of Slow Food Park City members to recruit participants," Kulig said.
As of Thursday, the producers who are on board include:
Canyon Meadows Ranch
Center for Science in the Public Interest National Food Day 2013
Chef Frody Volgger
Heber Valley Artisan Cheese
LuAnn’s Cupcakes and Bakery
Pace Family Farms
Slide Ridge Honey
Summit County Beef
The Crazy Tea Lady
The Hive Winery
Uinta Brewing Company
Zoe’s Natural Garden
While the Park City School District has committed to attend as far as the professional businesses go, Kulig is waiting word from Park City Medical Center, Park City Area Restaurant Association, Bill White Restaurant Group and Canyons restaurants.
"Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at Hotel Park City said they will send someone and someone from the Slopes’ management team is planning to attend," she said.
The event is open to any restaurant small or large that wants to participate.
"We’re not just trying to get big-name restaurants, but we also want the smaller, local restaurants to come as well," Kulig said.
The mingle area will be sectioned off during the market and attendees can RSVP as late as the morning of the event.
"Participants will talk with the producers and get to know them and at the same time get a plateful of their products that will be then baked onto Volker’s pizza," Kulig explained. "We will have Uinta Brewing serving beer and the Hive Winery doing a tasting.
"Now all we do is cross our fingers that it’s good weather and people show up," she said, chuckling.
The mingle will run until 7 p.m., an hour after the Farmer Market closes.
"That will give the professionals an opportunity to stay and talk with the producers a little longer," Kulig said.
Slow Food Park City will host a Park City Utah Chef Mingle at the Park City Farmers Market on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. RSVP is required. Producers can RSVP by visiting extension.usu.edu/sustainability/htm/programs/utah-farm-chef-fork/mingle-registration. Food professionals can RSVP to Debbie Kulig by calling (916) 521-8098 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
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