Archive for April, 2011

Farm & Vine Dinner

Friday, April 29th, 2011

With nicks on broadway, Arcadian Fields Farm & Qupé Vineyards

At The Ocean House

Wednesday May 4th, 20011

It’s always a special treat to collaborate with another chef, and I’m really looking forward to working with Chef Eric and his team at The Ocean House next week.  Highlighting our local and seasonal bounty is something I try to do on a daily basis with our food at nicks, so when posed with the question of participating in a collaborative, special dinner to honor that purpose I jumped at the chance.

After the long cold winter has taken its toll and our stews and roasts have robbed our cellars bare of all the root vegetables stored from the late Autumn and early Winter harvests, we wait with bated breaths in our kitchens for the first signs of Spring.  Blossoms, chives, and the promise of fiddle heads, asparagus and the like reinvigorate our spirits, inspire our creativity and brighten our plates with a freshness that always seems as exciting as it was the first time we realized their brilliance.

Quick and fickle it can be, the Spring bounty, as the Winter is often long, hard, and reluctant to go, while the blistering Summer with its hot sun and crushing humidity wastes no time screaming into existence.  So as chefs, we must be flexible, understanding and ready when all of our favorite things arrive, as they may run their course and be gone before we know it.

On that note, here is a menu with some of the first signs of Spring and its bounty. Paired with some fantastic, well crafted wines, I hope you get the chance to come and visit us at The Ocean House and taste some our local, seasonal goodness.  See you soon!

Reception

Seasonal treats and surpises with Chef Eric Haugen

Paired 2009 Qupé Bien Nacido Cuvée

First Course

Butter-roasted native day boat sea scallops with lardo, peas, lemon-chive cream cream & fresh herbs

Paired with 2009 Qupé Marsanne “Santa Ynez Valley”

Second Course

Peppered Stoney Hill Farm pork with dandelion greens, lovage & charred-radish-potato puree, red wine jus

Paired with 2008 Los Olivos Cuvée

Third Course

Dark Chocolate with lavender, local honey + fresh mint

Paired with 2008 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard

Earth Dinners

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Earth Dinner Tasting Meal 2011

In honor of Earth Day this year nicks on broadway is proud to partner with Organic Valley and Chef’s Collaborative to celebrate and bring awareness to sustainability, locally and organically grown foods, and the entire farm to table movement.  A portion of the proceeds from these dinners will go directly to Chef’s Collaborative, which is the leading nonprofit network of chefs and farmers that fosters sustainable food systems using the power of education, collaboration and responsible buying decisions.

This menu has been thoughtfully prepared to feature + represent many of the small farmers, producers + artisans that we work with every day.  Each course represents a different aspect of our local Rhode Island + New England bounty. We hope you enjoy!

1st Taste From the Dairy

Beltane Farms goat’s milk cheese with baby spring radishes, poppy seeds + lettuces

2nd Taste From the Field

Schartner Farm carrot + onion potage with house-made crème fraiche

3rd Taste From the Sea

Native butter roasted sea scallops with potato-pea puree, herbs + lemon vinaigrette

4th Taste From the Bog

Fresh Meadow Farm cranberry-wine sorbet with bubbles

5th Taste From the Pasture

Char-grilled Stoney Hill Farm pork with rye seed, barley, wilted bitter greens, pork belly + cider jus

6th Taste From the Bees

Aquidneck honey ice cream with warm Maine oat cookies + house berry preserves

For proper timing and execution + for your enjoyment, your entire party must order the tasting meal. Thank you.

$60 per person, exclusive of tax, beverage + gratuity.

Wine Pairings available for $5 per course.

Substitutions are respectfully declined. Please make your server aware of any allergies or restrictions.

Here are nicks we are proud to support + work with these farmers, artisans + producers:

Allen Farm, Aurora Mills & Farm, Baby Greens Farm, Baffoni Family Farm, Barden Family Orchard, Beltane Farm, Blackbird Farm, Berkshire Brewing Co, Blue Skys Farm, Bomster Scallops, Cook’s Valley Farm, Confreda Farm, Crystal Brook Farm, Czajkowski Farm, Farmstead Cheese, Fitzhugh Family Syrup, Four Town Farm, Fresh Meadow Farm, Hill Orchard, Kingston Trawlers, Harpoon Brewing, Jephrey Floral Studio, Little City Growers Co-op, Narragansett Creamery, Newport Vineyard, Newport Storm Brewery, Olga’s Bakery, Plum Point Oysters, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Red Planet, Rosasharn Farm, Schartner Farm, Stoney Hill Cattle, Sakonnet Vineyard, Urban Greens, Westport Vineyards, Wishing Stone Farm, Yacht Club Bottling Works and so many more.

Trace and Trust post from Rob Booz & Chef’s Collaborative

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Here’s a post directly cut from the Chef’s Collaborative Website.  I was going to post a link but I figured I would just show the entire post as is….

Trace and Trust in the Ocean State with Chef Derek Wagner

March 31st, 2011, 7:00 pm

Hot on the tails of Chef Garcia’s post about the wonderful folks at Trace and Trust, I got in touch with Chef Derek Wagner of acclaimed Nick’s on Broadway down in Providence, Rhode Island.

Derek was the first chef in the Ocean State to use Trace and Trust. I asked him a few questions, figuring that I would pull together some quotes and write a post. But the things that Derek said needed no editing.

So here, in full, is what Derek had to say about his relationship with Trace and Trust:

I became involved with Trace and Trust through Chefs Collaborative.  For a long time I have been looking for ways to work with local fisherman and get access to fresh local fish, directly, with minimal interference and maximum contact to freshness and integrity in sourcing, methods and information.

As chefs, we’ve had to rely on middlemen for sourcing and an industry-driven information stream that hasn’t always had our best interests, or truth, at heart. We are often fed misinformation about sourcing, species, sustainability, region, and availability.

I’m a chef who tries incredibly hard to make conscientious, thoughtful, direct connections to his food sources, not being able to talk directly with the people who were doing the hunting and gathering on a daily basis just felt wrong.  Why can’t I talk to my fisherman?  Why do I have to rely on purchasing from, talking to, and getting information from brokers, purveyors and distributors?  And why, when I do meet or talk to local fisherman, is it so impossibly hard to buy and serve the fish that they are catching on a daily basis?

We, as an industry have been making so many strides in other areas, such as all things produce, dairy, pork, beef, chicken, lamb, duck, cheese producers and more. I knew there had to be something I could do to find that same connection to what should be one of the most abundant resources in our little state, FISH!

As the chef and owner of a busy restaurant I needed to find a constant source of fresh local seafood, not just a once off, seasonal foray into sourcing it.  I first started asking questions to the folks at Farm Fresh RI, who have done so much in creating awareness and making special connections between chefs and farmers, growers and producers.  When we hit some roadblocks I turned to my friends at Chefs Collaborative for direction, information and advice. After attending a great meeting in Boston, where I spoke to and listened to many other chefs and speakers from various organizations on the topic, I felt energized about tackling the issue, but still wasn’t sure how to or where to start.  Over the course of the next few months I had some great conversations with Leigh and Alida about how and where I could start to make this a reality.

There were many organizations that were out there making connections with chefs and sustainable, responsible seafood sources, but none that I knew of that were available from, or based out of Rhode Island.  It just seemed mad to me that we lived in the Ocean State, but had to import fresh fish from all around the world to try to achieve what should be so simple.  I knew there were fisherman out there doing great things, but how was I to make that connection?

Leigh soon introduced me to Glenn from Trace and Trust, making the connection that would ultimately develop this dream into a reality.  Glenn and I had several great conversations, and after months of phone and emails, we finally met at Nick’s on Broadway to discuss kick starting the Trace and Trust initiative in Rhode Island.  Glenn brought with him Steve Arnold, a local fisherman based out of Point Judith.  Together we shared ideas and thoughts on the topic and it was soon apparent that we not only shared similar goals and philosophies, but we had all the necessary pieces to put the puzzle together.

Steve and I had further conversations on seasonality, availability, sustainability, method, species, integrity and process and soon after began a partnership that would lead to what very well may revolutionize the way we as chefs source our fish on a daily basis.  Nick’s was the first Trace and Trust delivery in Rhode Island, and the network is building as the knowledge and information spreads.  More chefs are tuning in and catching on, which is making the initiative stronger and healthier.

We have established a direct connection from source to end user that had not been available to us here.  We are able to fish responsibly, shorten distance, time and handling, support local community and put forth dishes to our guests that are not only fresher than anything they’ve ever had, but thoughtfully procured and prepared for them.  We are able to give them information about product, source and method in a way that they’ve never had access to before. It is truly exciting and special work.

I can call my fisherman now and ask him when and where he is going fishing.  My fisherman can call me from his boat, at sea, telling me what the weather is, how far out to sea he is, what waters the fish are biting in, and exactly what and when he’ll be able to get to my kitchen that day.  It’s incredible.  It’s important to remember however that flexibility, empathy and innovation have all been absolutely imperative at all turns and on both sides.

Posted by: Rob Booz

One Response to “Trace and Trust in the Ocean State with Chef Derek Wagner”

  1. Melissa Kogut Says:
    April 5th, 2011 at 10:13 am Thanks for sharing this great story, Derek! It’s amazing what can happen through collaborations like this one.

Upcoming Events Spring 2011

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Here’s a short list of some of the exciting events we are participating in this spring.  Call or email with any questions.

April 20-24th Earth Day Tasting Menu at nicks, in collaboration with Chefs Collaborative

May 2nd Farm & Vine Dinner at The Ocean House in Watch Hill

May 15th Culinary Showdown at Johnathon Edwards Winery

May 17th Craft Beer Week Beer Dinner with Pretty Things at nicks

June 11th Harvest to Heat Picnic at The Phillip Johnson Glass House

New York here we come…. James Beard Dinner

Friday, April 15th, 2011

On the tail of my last post with our work on the Harvest To Heat project comes a trip to the big city.  The books release will culminate with a dinner at the coveted James Beard House in New York, on this coming Monday, November 1, 2010.  The team and I are really looking forward to cooking in the big city and working in the famed kitchen at the James Beard House.

The dinner will feature chefs from New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, and of course Rhode Island.  I always look forward to working with chefs from other restaurants, and this should prove to be a really fun dinner.

Our dish will feature dry aged Blackbird Farm beef tenderloin with wilted bitter greens, Stoney Hill Farm pork belly lardons, Schartner Farm carrot puree & port wine jus.  We are also doing a canape of Baffoni Farm chicken liver with hazelnut, Schartner Farm berry preserve & toasted brioche.

To say the least, its an honor to be involved in the book, and an honor to cook at the house!