Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chef Hopkins Showcases New Southern Cuisine at the James Beard House

Chef Hopkins recently had the honor of preparing a meal at the James Beard House on May 5th --- Mr. Beard's birthday of all occasions. So what do we serve at the birthday party for the man who the New York Times anointed the "dean of America cookery?" Nothing but the best the south has to offer. Check out the menu for the night. You'll see a celebration of farmers and artisan producers from all around the cornbread nation, which incidentally is exactly what we serve every night at Restaurant Eugene.

A special thanks to Chef de Cuisine Ryan Smith and Sous Chef Jason Paolini for personally delivering all that precious food from Atlanta to New York City.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Permaculture Applied

The goal is always fine food and impeccably gracious service. The means are sometimes unexpected. Keeping ourselves engaged and focused on our food in the context of the world around us renews our inspiration and ensures that we deliver the best to our guests every night. The last week of April at Restaurant Eugene was a boon of exploration and learning.

Staff started the week with a foraging expedition in the North Georgia mountains led by renowned Georgia forager, herbalist and author, Patricia Howell and finished with Friday's visit from Duane Marcus of the Funny Farm who provided an overview of the ethics and principles of permaculture:
1. Observe & interact
2. Catch & store energy
3. Obtain a yield
4. Apply self-regulation & accept feedback
5. Use & value renewable resources & services
6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details
8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small & slow solutions
10. Use & value diversity
11. Use edges & value the marginal
12. Creatively use & respond to change

It turns out we've been practicing permaculture principles without labeling them as such. It just seems like the right thing to do. Take Friday's visit from Caroline Hoogenboom, for example. The charming new winemaker from Persimmon Creek Vineyards, pictured here with Chef de Cuisine Ryan Smith, stopped by to share some vineyard prunings. A waste stream for the viticulturist proves to be an excellent cooking medium for the chef. The sweet, aromatic vines are wonderful for smoking meats and fish. Check principles 1 through 12 --- Permaculture Applied!