Outstanding in the Field, an organization that coordinates on-farm dinners using local chefs and often on-site ingredients, recently released its 2014 schedule and will begin selling tickets to its events March 20. The Atlanta events will be held September 27-28 at Love is Love Farm in Decatur. Joe Truex, executive chef and owner of Watershed on Peachtree, and Asha Gomez, of Cardamom Hill, will headline.
"The notion of a farm, farmers, a chef, and a community communing over food is just priceless to me," Gomez says.
Truex and Gomez, who will cook Saturday and Sunday respectively, will prepare a multi-course, family-style meal for more than one hundred people on site, including farmers, artisans, and other local food producers. They’ll use ingredients grown on the farm combined with those from local purveyors.
The event begins with a wine, champagne, and/or cocktail reception and a tour of the farm. Then attendees will sit down at one long table—set in the field—and eat off plates that they bring with them. Throughout the meal, the farmers, winemakers, and chefs—all of whom will contribute to the meal—will shares their stories.
“I love it because it’s talented, educated people who care about food and wine for all of the right reasons,” says Truex, who first got involved with the organization in 2011.
Chef and artist Jim Denevan founded Outstanding in the Field in California in 1999. His brother, an organic farmer, helped coordinate the first event, and as the following grew, the events expanded across the country.
Each year, every event has a different menu. Although it is too early to have a defined menu for the 2014 Atlanta event, Truex is considering a pig roast, cochon de lait style.
“A lot of chefs try to bring restaurant food to the field but it doesn’t always go over well,” Truex says. “They want food with soul—farm food. No fancy garnishes.”
Gomez's meal will combine her "American sensibility" with her Indian roots. "The menu will revolve first and foremost around the farm and what it has available at the time," she says. "In the India that I grew up in, we created meals and menus based on the seasons and what is freshly and locally available. The recipes, though traditional, left a lot of room for seasonal changes and additions that can add a lot of interesting and unexpected flavor combinations."