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Wanted: Chefs who want to work with farmers

Post by News Tribune Staff on April 23, 2008 at 11:51 am | No Comments »
April 23, 2008 11:51 am

South Sound chefs who want a taste of Kelli Estrella’s cheeses can meet the cheesemaker next month at Primo Grill, as local chefs and farmers try to forge a collaborative.Kelli Estrella won’t be at Tuesday’s chefs and farmers meet-and-greet. update.

A group of South Sound chefs and farmers is looking for local chefs who want to cook and serve local, sustainable produce and meat. They want to form a Tacoma cell of the Seattle chapter of Chefs Collaborative, a national farm-to-table nonprofit that helps chefs and farmers work together.

"One of the things I think is a travesty," said Richard Hines of the Federation of Tacoma Farmers Markets, "is that many producers travel right through Tacoma from Olympia and Lewis County and they just go right on north to the markets up there. We want to create a local food culture in Tacoma."

To do that, Hines and his collaborators, including Charlie McManus, chef/owner of Primo Grill and Crown Bar, are holding an organizing meeting for South Sound chefs on May 6 at Primo Grill. McManus will cook a meal for attendees, and members of the Seattle chapter of Chefs Collaborative, one of the most active in the nation, will give a presentation and answer questions.

The menu of farmers and their products is enticing: Kelli Estrella of Estrella Family Creamy in Montesano will bring some of her award-winning cheeses; Cheryl "The Pig Lady" Ouellette, founder of the Puget Sound Meat Producers Cooperative, is donating one of her heritage-breed pigs; Puyallup farmer Terry Carkner is providing produce; and McGavick, Grapeview’s charitably inclined winery, is providing beverages.

For more information, e-mail Rich Hines of the Federation of Tacoma Farmers Markets.


The folks trying to organize a Tacoma chapter of the Chefs Collaborative — a group that helps chefs and farmers network — sent me two reminders today.

1. If you’re a local chef who’s interested in networking with other local chefs and farmers, you’ve got until 5 p.m. today to RSVP for Tuesday’s get-together at Primo Grill, where sustainably inclined chef-owner Charlie McManus will cook for attendees.

2. A change in cheese. Read this, from Richard Hines, board president of the Tacoma Farmers Market who’s helping to organize the local Chefs Collaborative drive:

Black Sheep Creamery from Lewis County, which was affected by the floods last fall, will be with us instead of Estrella. Kelli called me to say that she is completely overwhelmed with cheese orders.

If you want in on Tuesday night’s organizing meeting, contact Richard Hines at 253-301-1121 or by e-mail.

Farming and growing
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