Monthly Archive for July, 2011

Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana to speak at the 2011 Sun Valley Harvest Festival

Chef Cathy Whims has built quite a following in the Portland area, receiving much critical acclaim and recognition for her latest culinary adventure, the opening of Nostrana, an Italian roadhouse restaurant. Named Oregon’s Restaurant of the Year twice since it’s opening, Nostrana has become known for Cathy’s historically-based, authentic dishes that are classically Italian yet inventive, seasonal, and reflective of flavors found in the Northwest.

The menu at Nostrana reflects Cathy’s love of traditional Italian cuisine. On frequent trips to Italy, Cathy spends time in family kitchens and restaurants in order to better understand the roots of traditional Italian cuisine. Cathy then brings this authenticity back to Nostrana to create a menu of simple dishes with few ingredients yet complex flavors. However, to create these Italian flavors Cathy sources only from farmers and vendors in the Northwest. A strong belief in sustainable cuisine and using local ingredients has therefore influenced the menu at Nostrana and given the classic Italian dishes a Northwestern flair. Blending a love of Italian cuisine and a strong eco-consciousness, Cathy has created a uniquely local, international restaurant.

As a member of the Board of Advisors for Slow Food Portland, Cathy has also brought the Slow Food Movement to Nostrana. The Slow Food Movement encourages the pure enjoyment of food and its natural flavors. To truly enhance dishes served at Nostrana, Cathy insists upon using a wood burning oven and grill to create uniquely complex, smokey flavors. Cathy believes when food is stripped down and dishes are ingredient driven, the flavors of fresh, local ingredients cooked in a wood-burning stove can truly shine.

Cathy will bring her love of Italian culinary tradition, as well as her enthusiasm for the food and wine options of the Northwest, to the 2011 Sun Valley Harvest Festival. Come prepared to experience Italian cuisine in an entirely new way!

Chef’s Melissa Costello and Clay Conley to Present at the 2011 SVHF

We are pleased to announce that Melissa Costello and Clay Conley will be bringing their signature styles to the second annual Sun Valley Harvest Festival. These chefs will come from across the country to showcase their culinary talents and celebrate the bounty of Idaho’s harvest this fall.

Chef Melissa Costello, founder of Karma Chow, brings a Clean Eating perspective to the festival. As a certified Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor, Melissa is known for her healthy, nutritious recipes and vegan cleanses. Stemming from a strong belief in avoiding processed foods, and instead focusing on using the least amount of ingredients and eating nutrient dense foods, Melissa works to use healthy substitutions in her recipes to make the food “clean.” A clean food diet entails eating food in its raw, unprocessed state and Melissa uses only fresh, unprocessed foods in her cooking.

In addition to being a proponent of clean eating, Melissa also promotes vegan cleanses as a way to break addictions and cravings. Melissa views a cleanse as an investment in your health, one that will rid your body of “slow poisons” such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, gluten, and animal products. Cleansing your body for 30 days gives you the opportunity to see how your body functions without these “poisons.” After cleansing, Melissa believes the body is free of toxins and truly ready to enjoy healthy, nourishing foods, as Melissa believes there is a definite link between eating clean and feeling healthy.

As the founder and chef of Karma Chow, a personal health, wellness, and chef service, Melissa has been chef to the stars, including Tony Horton, creator of P90X. For the Sun Valley Harvest Festival, Melissa will showcase healthy vegetarian and vegan cuisine made from nutrient rich ingredients and will explain the health benefits of a “Clean Food” diet.

Chef Clay Conley celebrated the start of the year with the opening of his first restaurant, Buccan, a progressive American grill in Palm Beach, Florida. Named for a wooden structure used to grill meat in the Caribbean, Buccan is known for its wood fired, internationally inspired cuisine.

Originally from Maine, Clay began his culinary career working in a restaurant as a dishwasher at the age of 13. Clay continued to work in the restaurant industry and after a decade of working with Todd English and opening restaurants across the U.S. and abroad, Clay worked as the head chef at Azul in Miami. Clay drew from these travels and his culinary experience to create the evolving menu and casual atmosphere at Buccan.

The menu at Buccan reflects Clay’s personal taste in food; many dishes are served as complementary small plates. Clay believes that small plate options, similar to tapas, create a flexibility and fluidity that allows for trying new things. Some items, such as the Hotdog Panini, have become favorite menu staples, but Clay creates a new menu for Buccan that reflects preferential and seasonal changes daily. Along with an assortment of flavorful options, Clay believes in creating dishes from fresh, local ingredients and sources from local farmers. Clay’s sustainable restaurant practices and fresh, local ingredient choices has brought Buccan to the forefront of the restaurant industry.

Throughout the festival, Clay will showcase his culinary expertise and bring the flavor and charm of Buccan from Palm Beach to Sun Valley. Expect unique flavor pairings and multiple small plate options from this innovative and masterful chef.

Each chef brings a unique perspective and culinary style to the festival that you won’t want to miss. Come taste and enjoy the work of Melissa Costello and Clay Conley this September at the 2011 Sun Valley Harvest Festival.

Sun Valley Harvest Festival 2011: Taite Pearson, Judith McQueen, Rebecca and Chris Kastner

Sun Valley, Idaho has become a leader in the food policy movement by utilizing local and organic foods in seasonal menus. Local chefs Taite Pearson, Judith McQueen, and Chris Kastner are in part responsible for this regional eco-food movement. These chefs share respect and responsibility for the culinary experience and bring their own unique flavor to recipes crafted from Idaho grown ingredients.

Taite Pearson is currently the owner and chef of Sego and Della Mano in Ketchum, Idaho. Before settling in scenic Sun Valley, Taite worked in some of the best kitchens nationwide. Taite began as a sous chef at Wright’s in Arizona and over the next few years continued to work at a variety of restaurants, including Mary Elaine’s, the Ventana Room, Janos, and Brasserie T, before opening his first restaurant, Linen, in Tucson at the age of 24. The menu of Linen centered on modern French cuisine, receiving much critical acclaim and giving Taite the freedom to experiment with different culinary tastes and techniques. Taite then moved to Las Vegas to work as chef de cuisine for Wolfgang Puck, eventually becoming executive chef and director of culinary development for Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Still craving a unique culinary adventure, Taite moved to Southern California and worked as a private chef until relocating to Ketchum to open his newest restaurant concept by the name of Sego.

At Sego, Taite has worked to create an eco-conscious, sustainable restaurant using local ingredients gathered from nearby farms and fisheries, even using Idaho’s Bounty Co-op for fresh produce. The menu at Sego is altered to accommodate the seasonal ingredients sourced from various Idaho artisans. Taite believes that knowing where the ingredients come from creates a respect and responsibility for the food, enhancing the culinary experience. Taite’s innovative and respectful approach to cuisine will be showcased during the Sun Valley Harvest Festival Caviar and Martini Party.

Husband and wife Chris and Rebecca Kastner are the owners and chefs of CK’s Real Food in Hailey, ID. This culinary duo shares the responsibilities of the restaurant, with Chris working in the kitchen as the head chef and creative mind behind the dishes and Rebecca coordinating the dessert and wine options. Their two children have gotten into the family business as well, creating the ice creams and sorbets found on the menu and helping in the kitchen and dining room.

CK’s is truly a family affair, an idea that came to life after 30 years of working in the restaurant industry, and centers around the Slow-Food Movement. Slow-food is a way of living that links the enjoyment of food to a commitment to the community and environment. The slow-food movement asserts that eating is more pleasurable when the food has been locally grown and sustainably sourced and is enjoyed in community. Using only local, in-season ingredients and encouraging the pure enjoyment of food, Chris and Rebecca have brought the slow-food approach to CK’s and attempt to make the restaurant as community oriented and sustainable as possible. Solar panels installed on the restaurant’s roof, a seasonal menu created from locally grown, organic ingredients, including fresh produce harvested from their own garden and sourced from Idaho’s Bounty Co-op, and a recycling program that ensures that all aspects of waste produced by CK’s are composted or recycled, all reflect the environmental responsibility encouraged by Chris and Rebecca. Regional beer, wine and various real-food options create a unique menu with a sustainable core while a spacious restaurant and garden filled with intimate seating encourage long talks and slow meals. Rebecca and Chris will participate in the chef demonstrations during the Sun Valley Harvest Festival and CK’s Real Food will play a part in the festivities dinners as well.

Judith McQueen owns her own business in Hailey, Judith McQueen Entertaining, and works as a private chef for parties, events, and personal functions in the Sun Valley area. Judith got her start in the culinary and entertainment industry very early, holding her first dinner party at the age of 12 for her parents. Judith’s parents encouraged her culinary abilities, as well as her musical training, and Judith first pursued a singing career before turning to catering. Judith’s time spent in the entertainment industry proved helpful, as she believes that there is more to catering than great food and works to combine design and entertainment aspects into her catering events.

Before opening Judith McQueen Entertaining in Hailey, Judith worked as the Director of Catering at Universal Studios and the Director of Food Services for law firm in Los Angeles. It was here that Judith began throwing elaborate dinner parties, one of her favorites being a dinner party for over 600 at the Gorilla Pavilion at the Los Angeles Zoo that featured Brazilians dancers and drummers. After building experience with an exciting career in the California area, Judith settled in Hailey in 1998 and opened her own business, Judith McQueen Entertaining. Judith specializes in catering events that are “elegant, emotional, joyous, and timeless.” Judith loves planning and catering for whole events and often caters an entire weekend’s events for a wedding, including the rehearsal dinner, reception, and brunch. A similar wedding event catered by Judith will be featured in Sun Valley Magazine’s summer 2011 issue.

Sustainability and eco-cuisine is a cause championed by Judith as well. Judith uses seasonal ingredients when catering and when asked about her participation in the Sun Valley Harvest Festival, responded that she was excited the festival was taking place in September as “[she] could choose nothing better than the subject of tomatoes, the jewel of late summer” to work with. The work of Judith McQueen will be featured throughout the festival and you can learn more about her work during the festival dinners and market walk.

Taste, experience, and enjoy the work of Taite Pearson, Judith McQueen, and Chris Kastner at various events during the 2011 Sun Valley Harvest Festival.