This Saturday, a celebrity chef, local students, and locally- sourced foods are coming together for an event this region has never seen: Uprooted.
The Crop Foundation’s Kip Poole brings Tiffan Ortiz, a Michelin star chef of Food Network fame, to the 757 to work with their student chefs. This week, they’ll take the students fishing for speckled trout, foraging for wild herbs and vegetables, and head to local farms to lock down some of the region’s best Spring flavors. All the work and training culminates in a seven-course dinner on Saturday night that is open to the public (with tickets).
The Crop Foundation has been creating learning opportunities for aspiring chefs since 2014, but this one is bound to be a masterclass. Tiffani Ortiz has made a name for herself in the culinary industry by focusing on sustainable farming, organic agriculture, and closed-loop cooking practices. Of course, the chef’s food is notoriously delicious, with Michelin Guide California praising her work’s “deeply savory and welcomingly ambitious flavors.”
Students in the Crop Foundation program already get lots of hands-on training by doing real kitchen work at Commune Provisions while working on an intense curriculum put together by Poole. All of the foundation’s previous students have gone on to full-time restaurant work or culinary school, including places like the Miami Ritz-Carlton and the Culinary Institute of America. Ahead of Saturday’s Uprooted dinner, students will be involved in foraging for sorrel and greens, fishing for speckled trout, and sourcing from farms along the Virginia coast. They’ll even be making their own kinds of vinegar and fermenting asparagus to make dirty martinis. It’s a crash course in the local-first and sustainable sourcing practices that have put Ortiz on the national radar and made Commune a local favorite.
Ticket holders will taste ramps, trout, sorrel, pork sausage, tortelloni, and more from the land and water you call home. The menu is sure to surprise as it features several types of fermentation alongside lesser-known vegetables like ramps, stinging nettles, and wild sorrel. Locals will be familiar with the seasonally-sourced strawberries and pork sausage from Heritage Farms. Molecular gastronomy and spectacular culinary skills will be on full display. Of course, attendees will hear from the chefs, both the famous and soon-to-be, throughout the dinner.
This Saturday’s Uprooted dinner is the first in a seasonal series by the Crop Foundation. For the Crop Foundation’s first major event in the 757, landing a celeb like Ortiz is a huge win – but it’s no fluke. Future events will be making similar use of seasonally available foods and featuring guest chefs of colossal caliber.
Paul Stetson Rice
Paul is the creator of NFKVA.com. He was born and raised in Norfolk, graduated from Virginia Tech, and narrowly avoided law school. Chat with him about economics, entrepreneurship, hip-hop, and hiking. When he's not working on five different projects, you'll catch him sharing a beer with friends at a local brewery.