Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Event in Review - Tastes of Sustainability

On Thursday, September 27th, we hosted the event Tastes of Sustainability.  Chef Daniel Ankrum of Avant Garde Catering gave everyone the pleasure of tasting his fine cooking.  Chef Dan made connections between what we were devouring and what we were there to learn more about--being more sustainable. Everything he made that day was of local products from local farms (all products were within 300 miles!)  Here is a menu of what he created for us:

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream demo
Farm: Hansens, HillCrest Farms

Squash soup
Local Iowa butternut squash soup, Vegan
Farm: A Family Market Place

Local Iowa roasted pork shoulder served taco style.
Farm Green's Organics

Brew Grain Cookies
Farms: Hillcrest Farms, Kitchen Table CSA, Hansen's

For the liquid nitrogen ice cream, he literally use liquid nitrogen mixed with the ice cream's ingredients.  The end result ends up looking like small rocks.  Here's a snapshot of mid-mixing:

Chef Daniel and his pastor actually have a small brewing service running.  Instead of throwing away the hops, barley, and malts like usual, he uses those leftover ingredients to make Brew Grain Cookies!

The squash soup was a huge hit. He made the cream using cashews and water and then added the other ingredients. It looked a lot like pumpkin pie, but creamier.  It is completely vegan, and was gone within half an hour!

The tacos were made out of three pork shoulders from a type of pig called Meishan.  For toppings, there was homemade salsa and goat cheese to add.

On top of the food, four student organizations were there to talk with students about what they do and how/why they should join the revolution.  UNI Green Life, Green Project UNI, Student Nature Society (SNS), and Northern Iowa Energy Corp were all in attendance.

All in all, there was a great turnout, and we hope to be able to do it again!

Here are some pictures from the night.

If you're looking for more information about Chef Dan, here is a short profile and some links to help with your search.

Chef Dan Ankrum of the ArtHouse Cafe and Avant Garde Catering, is a classically trained chef who studied at the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in the Twin Cities.  His unique culinary creations specialize in locally sourced vegetables for a "farm to fork" dining experience.  "We try to be cutting edge and whimsical," he said. "We do every genre of food."
Ankrum is known for creating "Pop-up" dining experiences throughout Waterloo.  He makes themed, multi-course meals in unique locations for one to two nights that are met with huge success and a strong following.  His are the only such events in the area.  Pop-up menus range from "Fusi-Q", a unique twist on traditional barbecue dishes, to "Heirloom" an event that featured all ingredients and courses coming from within a forty mile range.
Providing fresh, diverse produce not only allows him to make excpetionally tasty meals but sustainable ones.  "We've always been the type of place that makes use of locally grown, organic crops," he said. "We like to source our own ingredients from our own gardens by using organic, sustainable farming practices that aren't done much anymore."