Kent State University students returning for the fall 2013 semester can expect more variety at the university’s dining centers. To expand their knowledge about fruits, herbs and seasonal vegetables, executive chefs from Kent State visited the Culinary Vegetable Institute of the Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio, where they had a culinary retreat.
The Culinary Vegetable Institute provides the world’s most innovative chefs with a place to share knowledge, experiment and discover techniques for growing and preparing flavorful varieties of vegetables.
John Goehler, senior associate director for Kent State’s Dining Services, said the visit to the Chef’s Garden was informative and helped the Kent State team learn more about different herbs. He added the chefs will now create a weekly chef’s special at all the dining centers on the Kent Campus.
“One of the main focuses at the Chef’s Garden was using seasonal vegetables to fill the plate, and offering a smaller protein portion as the center of the plate,” said Richard Roldan, director of Kent State’s dining services. “Being in Ohio offers seasonal limitations in what’s available to us, but we are learning how to better make use of produce that is in season, and make it the star of the plate not the supporting role.”
Roldan said the chefs all walked away with an understanding that menus will be adjusted and developed based on what is available and in season.
“We had an opportunity to walk the beautiful herb gardens and taste the different variety of herbs available,” Roldan said. “Some of those herbs included varieties of mint, including pineapple mint, chocolate mint, and more.”
During their visit, the university chefs participated in an herb garden scavenger hunt, where they were given a description of an herb, and were required to go into the garden and harvest them. The group also participated in a team-building exercise where a blindfolded chef was instructed and guided through the steps for making salsa with help from teammates.
The Chef’s Garden practices sustainable agricultural methods and safe growing processes that protect the land and consumers. The Chef’s Garden delivers healthy produce direct from the farm to chefs and consumers, and serves many local, regional and national clients.