Farmer’s Market, St. Paul, Minnesota

On this rainy past Sunday morning, Chef Marcus put back on his whites and visited the St. Paul’s farmers market. He and NECI alumnus Dan Zelle set up a banquet table decorated with New England Culinary Institute brochures and information, the laptop with a NECI DVD running, and two burners (one induction, one butane; more on this later). Their goal was to get the NECI name “out there” (in this case the Twin Cities area) and hopefully capture potential students. They began the morning by visiting some of the other local vendors and purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to demonstrate their culinary prowess to the market-goers. The team of chefs first sautéed and caramelized zester apples and red onions, deglazed with Meyer’s Dark Rum, and added a touch of brown sugar and butter. They then created perfectly creamy colored crepes and topped these with the apple mixture. Judging by the crowd, these were quite a hit. They then prepared a simple, yet absolutely delicious tomato sauce using fresh heirloom tomatoes, garlic, and onion, tossed this with organic capellini pasta, and added chiffonade basil to finish. NECI definitely got some exposure. There were at least 300 different onlookers coming and going throughout the day, all asking questions, and close to 130 of them sampled the food Marcus and Dan prepared. The farmer’s market was a fun and effective way to reach out to people, and we hope to do this again.

On a side note: induction burners don’t work on aluminum pans, only steel ones. We learned this the hard way today. After preparing the apple mixture, we attempted to gently heat the calphalon pan to make our crepes. And, to our surprise, no heat. Dan fortunately knows a restaurant owner nearby and borrowed a butane burner. A slight delay in preparation, but this didn’t stop the passersby. Chef Marcus stayed engaged in conversation with curious and interested market shoppers while Dan took care of the heat. “Now we’re cooking with gas!” was Chef’s comment. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the induction method, it is an electric burner with magnetic generated heat. To touch the surface of the burner (although on) with your hand, there’s no heat, but once a steel pan is placed on the surface, the heat is instant. It’s possible to boil water in a mere four minutes.

Published in: on August 21, 2007 at 3:11 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey Guys,
    Looks like you are having much fun! I just got back to TX. You will have to let me know if you make it this far south. I am right out side of Big Bend in Alpine. Have fun and be safe!

  2. Looks like you’re having a good time. Sturgis though…you lucky *******…you should have taken my Harley and rode that in to good ole SD in style…however take a lot of pictures cause I want to see them when you get home. Keep in touch boss.

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