This was the second annual Market to Fork Dinner event held in Milford with Chef Brian Polcyn – where he shares his culinary expertise and love for shopping & preparing local, seasonal products with 12 lucky individuals.
Here are the details:
1. Shop – at the Milford Farmers’ Market with Chef Brian Polcyn, gathering local/seasonal products
2. Chop – cook the local ingredients with Chef Polcyn in Cinco Lagos kitchen
3. Dine – savor the creations prepared, while drinking wine and enjoying great company
Very cool event with a great chef, wonderful group of attendees, and a constant buzz of excitement! We began as the group gathered at the Milford Farmers’ Market to meet with Chef Polcyn.
Chef discussed different seasonal techniques he likes to utilize and how we would be preparing the ingredients for the evening meal. Then the shopping began:
Chef answered all sorts of questions about how to pick the best fruits and vegetables and shared ideas on different ways to prepare the variety of items.
Candy onions, sweet corn, cantaloupe, farm raised chicken, peaches, blueberries, cherries, basil, tomatoes, freshly baked bread, olive oil, peppers, zucchini, and summer squash all were carried back to Chef Polcyn’s restaurant, Cinco Lago’s.
Once we arrived at Cinco Lagos everyone was given an apron, a recipe packet and led back into the kitchen to clean up and get ready for Chef’s download.
The main course was going to include chicken, so Chef showed everyone how to break down a whole chicken. He also gave quite a few great tips on keeping your station clean, organized and sanitized.
Once the chicken breasts were prepped for grilling and the chicken legs & thighs were braising we moved on to the next tasks. Chef and the attendees went to work cleaning and prepping the fruits and vegetables for the remaining dishes.
Chef tops the Caramelized Onion Tart with freshly grated parmesan cheese while an attendee stirs the Green Chile Mustard.
For dessert, a Vanilla Cake was prepared (see recipe at bottom of post)
When it was time for the final touches to be made in the kitchen the attendees took their seats at a special table in the restaurant to enjoy each other’s company, sample different wines and enjoy the tasty outcome of their shopping trip and time in the kitchen.
Here is a look at the final dishes:
The First Course: Caramelized Onion Tart
This tart includes the Candy Onions purchased at the market prepared three ways; caramelized, crispy and as a sauce in a Pate Brissee shell.
The Second Course: Braised and Grilled Chicken with Grilled Vegetables and Roasted Red Pepper Linguini
A grilled tomato slice (seasoned with olive oil, salt & pepper) was topped with fresh red pepper linguini (which was drizzled with olive oil), a piece of grilled chicken breast, braised dark meat, a spoon full of gravy, and topped with grilled veggie salsa (corn, yellow squash, zucchini & tomato)
And, for Dessert: Vanilla Cake With Fresh Berries And Toasted Almonds
Fresh blueberries, cherries and peaches from the market created the base for the cake to rest on. (recipe below)
When Chef was asked what inspires him to continue cooking and to create new dishes, he genuinely and passionately responded that it is always the ingredients. He feels very strongly about treating each ingredient with respect and equated the craft of cooking to the craft of fine woodworking. As a woodworker understands the different types of woods and how they respond to different techniques, he understands, respects and appreciates ingredients and how they will respond to different cooking techniques.
Chef also feels very strongly about supporting local business and local farms. He has spent the last 35 years building relationships with local farmers, and he shared some wonderful stories about specialty produce that has been hand delivered to his restaurant by those farmers.
As the attendees enjoyed their dessert, Chef took a break from the kitchen to join them and to discuss their thoughts on the meal they had helped to prepare.
It’s not very often that you have an opportunity to chat about cooking with a Chef and it was great to hear the questions the attendees posed to Chef Polcyn and to each other, as well. Applause filled the restaurant when it was announced that all of the proceeds from the evening’s event were being donated back to The Farmers’ Market by Chef Polcyn.
It was easy to tell that everyone in attendance had a wonderful experience and had learned a lot about simple cooking and allowing the ingredients to shine. A few even left with a signed copy of Chef’s cookbook ‘Charcruterie, The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing’
and everyone left with a jar of Chef’s Green Chile Mustard!
Be sure to check out both of Chef Polcyn’s restaurants, Cinco Lagos in Milford, MI (Facebook, Twitter) & Forest Grille in Birmingham, MI (Facebook & Twitter). And, if you are looking for a great farmers market to visit, make a trip to The Milford Farmers’ Market to check out their wonderful vendors and superb offerings – they are there on Thursday afternoons from 3-8pm.
There are many more photos from this great event, too – you can view them on our Flickr page.