Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Michael in Aspen - Farm to Fork

On the east coast, we may know Michael Chiarello best for a Zinfandel, a “consorzio” of olive oils, a “stylish” Napa catalog of artisanal goods, and an “entertaining” cooking show. But if you lived in California, you would know him better for his one restaurant, Bottega in Yountville. As head chef at this Italian-influenced farm-to-table, he is an outspoken advocate for organic farming and local produce; one could imply he is the Dan Barber of the west. He likes to say, “we vote with our forks”, meaning, the consumer can change the paradigm of cuisine by choosing where and what to eat. Michael was super-polished in his seemingly off-the-cuff presentation, and is clearly connected to the chemistry of cooking. He made fresh mozzarella right before us, as he claimed to have done many times for the ladies he had dated! One fun result is the Boccontini, which Deborah is seen sipping below. Michael pours a martini glassful of tomato water and adds grey salt, and a skewer with alternating cherry tomatoes and balls of bocconchini. Refreshing, savory and non-alcoholic. –Michael Koehler

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