Submitted by Jennifer McDonald, Marketing Coordinator
Terzo Piano in Chicago, IL, loves to support and celebrate local farmers every day — as well as in a now-annual event it calls Farm to Fork Fest, a special dinner focused on educating guests about where food comes from and why buying from local farms is important.
For its second such celebration, the Terzo team once again invited farmers to attend and also added a friendly timed cooking challenge in the style of reality TV show Top Chef’s “quickfires.” Top Chef Masters contestant and Terzo Executive Chef Tony Mantuano invited his friend Carmen Gonzalez, another Top Chef Masters alum, to compete in the challenge with him as a guest chef.
The evening begin with a reception on Bluhm Terrace in the style of a farmers’ market, where guests could chat with the farmers and learn more about what produce was available seasonally and locally.
Then the quickfire challenge began. Both chefs had to use Pinn Oaks Farms lamb and were able to choose the other accompanying ingredients. Within the 20-minute time limit, each chef was able to prepare a dish that played to their unique culinary heritage. Tony cooked up Italian-style lamb meatballs, while Carmen made empañadas. After guests had a chance to sample each dish, they were treated to a four-course dinner with each course featuring a product from one of the attending farms.