Locally sourced food is the thing these days, and sometimes a trendy concept deserves a hip party. That’s what Monday’s Farm to Fork Fest was — an intimate gathering in the chic dining room at Terzo Piano in the modern wing of the Art Institute. Attendees nibbled on passed starters and tasting portions from local chefs — including Rob and Allison Leavitt of Mado; Jason Hammel and Amalea Tshilds of Lula Café; and Terzo Piano Chef di Cucina Meg Colleran Sahs — and sipped on drinks from alcohol suppliers like Koval, Northshore Distillery, Two Brothers Brewery, and Seedling of South Haven, Michigan.
The event was set up like a mini, indoor Taste with gourmet flair. We traversed from one table to the next to get a birdie bite of this or that. The tables were set up in a way that boded well for crowd flow, the lines were short, portions were generous, and all the food and beverages I tried were excellent.
But having said that, I’m not entirely sure that those who paid the $125 sticker price got the best value, even with part of the proceeds going to a good cause — Feeding America. The number of participating restaurants was shockingly small, there was little seafood to be found, and only one vegetarian main dish (a lovely semolina cake from Lula Cafe). Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano was there because he consults at Terzo Piano, but I’m sad to say he didn’t prepare any food. And even though we got a chance to chat with vendors and chefs alike, there wasn’t a lot of interesting information available about eating locally.
I’d like to see this event grow its number of participating restaurants and farms in the future while keeping the crowd small. I’d like some farm to table takeaways that really educate people about eating locally. And most of all, I’d like to see a tad more variety in the dishes served.
Still, as far as the location (beautiful view!) and concept are concerned… Farm to Fork has potential.
We were invited to attend this event free-of-charge as members of the media.