Set in the historic Lakeview District of Birmingham, AL, The Market at Pepper Place is host to one of the largest and best-known farmers’ markets in the state, with more than 10,000 people attending during the height of the season. Senior Chef/Manager Robert Lynn was unfazed by the crowds, having done farmers’ market demos when he worked with the Bon Appétit team at Birmingham-Southern College. Now that he’s moved over to lead the culinary team at Protective Life Insurance Co., also in Birmingham, he brought along a Birmingham-Southern colleague, Executive Chef Matt Jones, to help with this a particularly high-profile demonstration.
Working as a pair, Robert and Matt tag-teamed the demo like pros, delighting the many marketgoers. While Matt was setting up and beginning to cook, Robert shared the Bon Appétit story, explaining how the company prioritizes community engagement via its Farm to Fork partnerships. (Robert is also the Bon Appétit Forager for the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.)
Matt then walked the crowd through his dishes while Robert fired up his own burners. Matt made a cool watermelon gazpacho, featuring super-fresh micro basil. Robert demonstrated a colorful take on crawfish and blue corn grits, a Southern favorite, with much of the product, including the grits, sourced from local producers. The crowd enjoyed twice the fun with their natural back and forth, several guests saying that the demo was the best they’d ever seen at The Market. And both men were reminded of why they became chefs in the first place: to share their knowledge and passion every day, even on days that are well outside of routine.
Submitted by Robert Lynn, Senior Chef/Manager