by Sam DuRegger
This past Sunday night I was introduced to Slow Food Utah, a local non-profit striving to build connections between farmers, ranchers, food artisans and consumers. Let me be the first to say, this ragtag group of volunteers knows how to put on a smashing fundraising dinner… I was so overwhelmed I had to ask my sixth sense to take a break from looking for the “Ghost of Utah Miner’s Past” (as we were dining in the historic Alta Club), and help me focus on experiencing the feast before me. True to their mission, Slow Food Utah brought many of us together to celebrate the pleasures of good, clean, fair food, by asking some of Salt Lake City’s finest chefs to prepare a locally sourced food feast.
For my personal highlights of the night, please keep reading!
My favorite appetizer of the night goes to the local elk carpaccio (topped with Snowy Mountain Mount Timpanogos cheese and local black mission fig jam), which was prepared by Bambara Executive Chef Nathan Powers. The sweet fig jam complimented the savory delicacy of the rare elk steak and Timpanogos cheese. I was so floored by the taste, I spent at least 20 minutes scouring the room for more serving plates containing this delicious mouthful (judging by the scarcity… I’m assured I wasn’t the only one).
One of the other appetizers that caught my palate, was the Gazpacho Trio by Cassie Little of Liberty Heights Fresh. The plate contained a three distinct gazpacho shots: heirloom tomato gazpacho topped with chives; a spicy watermelon gazpacho topped with mint; and a cantaloupe gazpacho topped with basil. I’d pay good money for the watermelon gazpacho recipe… as it gave my palate a refreshing summer hello! Followed closely with a spicy slap in the face. Sweet mercy!
One of my favorite dishes included this ravioloni masterpiece by Chef Greg Neville of Lugano Restaurant. Layered to perfection the chard, beet, and sheep’s milk ricotta stuffed ravioloni sat upon a thinly sliced beet base topped with vegetable broth and shaved parmesan cheese. One ravioloni was definitely not enough for this growing boy!!
I could spend hours recapping each and every dish served throughout the evening… but we’d all be forociously hungry by the end of it. So. Let me just thank the talented chefs who lent their expertise (not to mention the food) to the event, specifically those I haven’t yet highlighted: Ethan Lappe’s Tortilla Espanola; Phelix Gardner’s Ensalada de Remolancha; Amber Billingsley’s roasted peach sorbetto & anise hysoop gelato; Brian Edwards’ “Pork & Beans”; Romina Rasmussen’s vanilla bean semolina pudding; and Mike & Venessa Dobson’s Pop Art Popcorn. Not to forget the wine and beer pairings by the talented Frances Fecteau of Libations.
It was a evening which brought many around a table, to celebrate the pleasures of good, clean, fair food. I think the final picture below shares the heart of the event more than any words could. As Greg Nevelle’s smile indicates, these professional chef’s were in their element, happily lending a hand to help each other deliver their portion of the evening’s epicurean fare.