The Chef and The Writer
This isn’t exactly news for those who faithfully hang onto every tweet and Facebook post promoting my every move. But even those very dedicated readers will have a bit more context about my new gig by the end of today’s post.
So, I’ve got a new gig.
Say hello to the newest member of the Chef’s Consortium. It’s me. Hi. No, I’m not a chef. But by some accounts I am a sustainability advocate, and the group is made up of those too. Plus it was one of the chefs from the consortium who pulled me into the fold.
I still have a tough time believing it, but you can see the post on the site that lists me as one of the gang. Plus my first piece of actual writing for the CC has not only gone live, but has apparently done reasonably well. Although comments are more important than page views to me, and it feels a little quiet over there. Maybe you can help get the ball rolling.
Let me tell you a bit about how this all came to be and what you can expect in the future.
I first met Chef Noah Sheetz last spring at the Spring Deliverance put on by the Chef’s Consortium. He donated some tickets for a giveaway, and I got to chat with him briefly in person. Also I ate his food. It was good stuff.
But he was working.
It wasn’t until the fall when Noah was a guest judge for the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza that we got to sit down and talk a little more about food. He’s a very nice and easygoing guy. If I recall correctly, I think he may have been a bit too easy on some of the slices in the competition. But I can’t blame him, the guy’s from Texas.
He did, however, go to the CIA and just recently finished his MBA. In his spare time when he’s not busy with his day job as the executive chef at the Executive Mansion, he apparently has been reading the FUSSYlittleBLOG and my regular features on All Over Albany.
Recently Noah came to me with an idea.
As a local food advocate, he’s been traveling around the region, visiting producers and collecting a bunch of food. His intention had always been to write up product snapshots and feature them on the Chef’s Consortium, but he never had the time and likes my writing style. Maybe I would be interested in doing it?
My answer was enthusiastic and unequivocal. There are actually a lot of reasons why I decided to pile more work onto an already surprisingly full plate. For starters, I loved the idea of being part of this group. I’ve been wanting to reach out to local chefs for a while, and this puts me closer in touch with that community. It’s a community that skews a bit south of the Capital Region down into the Hudson Valley. But part of improving the food up here involves building a bridge to the delicious things that surround us.
Another reason is that I’d love to try more locally produced foods, but like everyone else I get bogged down by habit and inertia. The opportunity of having Noah vet and deliver to me a boxful of local foods to sample was almost too good to be true. Granted, some of these are a bit beyond my comfort zone (you’ll see in good time), but I’m really looking forward to the experience.
It was also very flattering.
So Noah and I had coffee a couple weeks back and talked about how this will work. He’s giving me a bunch of food. I’m going to eat it. If I can find an interesting angle and something nice to say, I’ll write up a brief story about the product. If not, we move on to the next one.
For now, I’ve got three products tasted and photographed. Two are good, but I’m still unconvinced about the third. I’ll do a bit more research to see if I’m missing something, before abandoning it to the next item in the Chef’s Consortium corner of the refrigerator.
The plan is for me to alternate weeks between AOA’s Eat This and the CC’s Product Review. But in short order I’ll update my Another Side of Fussy section to include the Chef’s Consortium, and you’ll likely see it referenced in other places too.
If you haven’t already, I’d love to hear what you think of my first story there on the fruited rye bread from Hawthorne Valley Farms. Except I’d like you to tell me there, and not here on the FLB. I know, it’s a little demanding, but this is the only time I’ll ask.
Yes, the Chef’s Consortium has its comments locked down a little tighter than you might like. But it’s a really interesting site. While you are there you should look around and maybe you’ll discover a local product you never knew about, or perhaps you’ll be inspired by the early spring recipe for beet and horseradish dip from consortium member Chef Ric Orlando. Then there are those recipes that combine both seasonal cooking with unique local products like Chef Noah’s blackened sea bream with cheesy polenta and pickled green tomatoes.
All of these things make me very happy. The only thing that would make me happier is to see some of your familiar names in the comments over there. Maybe together we can get some of those Hudson Valley people talking.