Chefs Collaborative 2017

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2017-2018 Culinary Arts Club

Portsmouth Abbey embarked on another culinary adventure for the fourth year with what has now become a tradition: the Chefs Collaborative at Schartner Family Farm in Exeter, Rhode Island, run by creative and talented chefs Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway and Jake Rojas of Tallulah’s Taqueria. They set out on this venture with “a mission to inspire, educate, and celebrate chefs and food professionals building a better food system” alongside “local farmers, fishermen, brewers, vintners, musicians, and artisans” who share their vision of raising money to “make a positive difference by fostering positive change.”

Who doesn’t love food? Since the beginning of school year, my friends and I have been excitedly waiting for this year’s Chef’s Collaborative held at Schartner Family Farm on October 1. Reading the blogs from past years and drooling while clicking on the photos of food at night, we almost made a list of to-eat food at the event. The moment we got off the bus upon arrival, we rushed into the farm and went station to station, smelling the delicious food and seeing all the aesthetic delicacies prepared by chefs from the local well-known restaurants. With the band singing under the tent and the little kids playing near the lake, it felt like a food festival, in which not only people can enjoy a variety tastes of food, but also a good time with friends.

It was not until after I finished several plates before I remembered to actually inquire about the ingredients and the names of the dishes. Among all, my favorite is the smoked fish cake with napa cabbage slaw and sauce rouille prepared by Chef Matt Gennuso from Chez Paschal. Attracted first by its beautiful look with the appetizing fish cake in the middle and orange seasoning spread in a straight line across the plate, I was impressed after I took a bite—the fish cake was at the right temperature and the right size without stuffing the diners. Because I am not a fan of raw food but I love seafood, the smoked fish cake undoubtedly became my top one on the list. For the dessert course, I love all the pastries from Ellie’s Bakery. The apple and husk cherry pies and the honey-chamomile French macarons kept me wandering back to Ellie’s station for more—even after I had already gorged myself, there was always room for more good food. Elaine Jiang ‘18

Schartner Farms

As per usual, scenic Schartner Farms made the perfect backdrop for Chef’s Collaborative last Sunday. The scattered tables of restaurants and bars each serving their own food and drinks could easily have been overwhelming, but luckily, a year of experience eating at Chef’s Collaborative gave myself and my partner in fine dining, Arthur, preparation to tackle every bite. We purposely started out on the far end across the lake, first eating what ended up being my favorite dish: Persimmon’s marinated mussels that were somehow salty, tender, fruity, and fresh all in one. I was heartbroken not to see Chef Champe Spiedel behind the counter (I would consider myself a superfan of his) but despite his absence, Persimmon was lovely as ever. We moved on, strategically eating at the tables with plates in order to create a firm base on which to top our bowls of chili and pozole. After about an hour, we had sampled everything, from–another favorite–the lamb shoulder on polenta from Gracie’s, to a more innovative grilled cabbage and vegetable dish from Kingfisher. About thirteen plates down, we began our dessert course, starting from the top and trying Eli’s incredible apple cider donuts with a vanilla glaze, as well as honey-chamomile French macaroons that were light and airy. In traditional Italian form, we finished our feast with coffee: New Harvest Coffee’s nitro cold brew for him, and a maple latte for her. Thank you to the chefs and organizers who made those two glorious hours of food and music possible. Sydell Bonin ’18

What could be better than starting the month on a Sunday, and with fancy food? As a committed foodie, when the bus finally made its full stop at the Schartner Family Farm, I ran off like I was an invited connoisseur to this fancy party. As soon as I got my set of fork and knife, I began my journey hustling from station to station. On my first stop, I had the marinated mussels from Persimmon; the crispness of the peppermint leaf, the freshness of the mussels, and the tangy sauce mixed together made the dish favorable. Since I had already opened my appetite with a seafood dish, I then tried the smoked fish cake with napa cabbage slaw. I was first attracted by its appearance: a rich piece of fish cake placed on top of a round of cabbages, topped with spicy mayonnaise and sprinkled with paprika. After my first bite, I knew that it was already on the top of my list for the night. The fish cake was fat but not greasy due to the sour taste of the cabbage, and the sauce was right on the nose.

After trying out the seafood and entrees, I decided to try out the desserts. I first went to Eli’s Kitchen and tried their amazing Apple Cider donuts with vanilla bean glaze, right out of the oven and drizzled with the glaze right away. I was not a big fan of Monrose Farms apple pie; it might be because the apples were too fresh and generated the tartness in my mouth.

Overall, I enjoyed the food and the view at Chefs Collaborative, and would definitely visit next year if possible. Katherine Wang ‘18

If you are looking for a place to test your diet—welcome aboard! Abbey Culinary Arts was the club that I wished to join ever since freshman year. So after a two-year wait, I could hardly wait when the bus roared into Schartner Farms. At first, I mistook the farm for an average countryside cottage: The ground was covered with gravel and a road hardly existed; the trees grew wild alongside, making me wonder at the presence of hundreds of cars on site. But a sniff of medium-cooked braised lamb dripping juice between two burger buns with spicy pickles conquered all doubts; and yes, it smells as it sounds, if not better.

A long line formed at registration, so I began to trace that magnificent smell. Fortunately and unfortunately, good food all has a common quality—you have to wait for it. So before the main course, I managed to grab some appetizers: Hopkins Southdown’s tomato barbecue pulled pork and Winner Winner’s harissa chicken wings exceeded my imagination of New England cuisine. But I was still mindful of my plan until I finally took up a braised lamb burger, or maybe two.

Skipping from booth to booth, I would call myself “gluttonous” after I stuffed myself on the second round. But right before I decided to settle down with a cup of maple latte, a glimpse of desserts from Ellie’s bakery gathered all my attention and I doubled down on the sweets. Honey chamomile macaroons and apple cherry hand pies were so fresh and delicious that they revived my tired palate.

After that high-calorie intake, I was more than happy when the group wrapped up and went back to the bus. But all in all, with appetizing food and live music playing, Culinary Arts Club definitely deserves the dedication of a whole Sunday afternoon and I look forward to its next event. Peter Liu ‘19

Culinary Arts Club went into the Schartner Farm through a gap in the hedges, entering into the crowd surrounding the bonfire by the pond. We walked through to one end of the tables. The first dish we tried was Persimmon’s mussels. This first bite was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. After this, we moved through the tables. I ate oysters, shrimp, chili, lamb barbecue, scallops, and several other dishes. I had already had most of the things we ate, but many of them in interesting combinations. But I did try some new vegetables that I still don’t really know what they are and a really strong ginger soda (which sort of burned my throat, but it was still good). Then I sat by the pond as I waited to be able to eat more. When I could, I got back in line for oysters and scallops a few times. I was going to wait to eat dessert, but I saw fresh apple donuts and cider and got them at the same time I had a plate with an oyster.

It was really great to see everybody else so excited and happy to be enjoying the food and trying new things! Ella Souvannavong ‘18

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Schartner Farms Lake

I can’t think of a better way to spend a crisp fall afternoon than at the annual Chef’s Collaborative. Set before the picturesque backdrop of Schartner Farms in Exeter, Rhode Island, Chef’s Collaborative is a foodie’s afternoon in paradise. When you pass through the evergreen wall into the main event, you feel included in a select community of people who appreciate quality. There is not a bad sight, smell, or taste anywhere in the venue. I made my way from end to end, enjoying a lamb slider from the Beehive, Persimmon’s marinated mussels, and washing it all down with a nitrous blended cold brew from New Harvest Coffees. I particularly enjoyed the mussels, which artfully combined the smokiness of the mussels and sauce with light and zesty greens.

I took a break from the lines to enjoy our stake of land on the far bank of the pond. From there I enjoyed the view of the pond, watching as the children ingeniously hurled a retrievable brick into the pond, rather than using their exhaustible collection of suitable rocks. This atmosphere is a perfect place to relax, unwind, and enjoy yourself. Arthur Shipman ‘18

After a busy weekend, the Culinary Club embarked on a familiar ride over to Schartner Farms for the annual Chefs Collaborative. After stepping off the bus to the smell of sauteed dishes and sight of many people waiting to enter, I knew this was going to be an exceptional event.

The farm—where the event is held—is beautifully positioned behind a lush row of trees with a large pond in the middle. Though my second year in attendance at the event, I experienced many new flavors and satisfying dishes from some of the most well-known restaurants and cafes throughout the greater New England area. I had originally believed that it would be difficult to find some vegan options for myself since a majority of people I saw had meat, cheese or a combination of both in their hands. However, I was very surprised by the selection of vegan cuisines scattered throughout the location. One of these, being my favorite dish as well, were by far the caramel apple squares. These heavenly treats most certainly lived up to their name in flavor and presentation. On the side, warm apple-cider was served, a fun reminder of the changing season. Also, I was greatly pleased to connect my first smell of sauteed food to a presentation of sauteed squash, peppers, potatoes, and cabbage. This dish was wholesome and tasty. After a couple (or more than a couple) of these various dishes, I did notice a familiar face and cafe from last year behind one of the scattered-about tables. He was serving three different types of coffee, my preference being the pure-black shot of coffee.

Without a doubt, the annual Chefs Collaborative is my favorite culinary event from last year and so far, this year as well. It proved to be a tasty, pleasant and fun environment to welcome the new members to a hidden culinary gem and for us experienced foodies as well. Until next time, caramel apple squares. Michael Griffin ‘18

Heading out to the Chef’s Collaborative on a beautiful October Sunday, I honestly had no idea what to expect. But I was promised good food amongst good company, so what more could I ask for? Once our bus pulled up to the little nondescript farm location in Exeter, the walk through the tall hedges led to a culinary and cultural feast for the senses. We were greeted by hordes of people surrounding tables brimming with a tantalizing selection of eats and treats. I stared at the program in overwhelming disbelief, worried that I would not be able to gorge myself with every sample. I embarked on a journey of discovery when it comes to the limits of my stomach, and surprisingly my taste palate as well.

Diving headlong into this festival of food, naturally I sprang for the iced coffee. The New Harvest nitro cold brew offered a refreshing respite for my temporary awe. Just dipping my toes in, I grabbed a honey-chamomile macaron as well. I had never seen such a wide selection of lamb, and I was a fan. Besos Kitchen’s lamb sliders and Gracie’s lamb shoulder were both delicious, and the rich creamy polenta that I mistook for mashed potatoes paired amazingly with the tender hunk of lamb. Next on the agenda were the White Horse Tavern’s BBQ grilled oysters, which were an interesting twist on a New England classic. Being from Cape Cod, I am ashamed to say I have never had a raw oyster. Unfortunately to this day, this still holds true because by the time I had made it to the raw bar they had run out. Nonetheless, I am still determined to try an oyster someday.

But there were still many other delicacies to be had; I was not letting this minor hiccup get in my way. A few highlights for me included Eli’s Kitchen’s fall fusion of sweet and savory with their combination of squash, mushrooms, apples, and my favorite ingredient: a perfectly pungent goat cheese. The marinated mussels from Persimmon were a tasty, little briny morsel, and the fried apple cider donuts were to die for. Finishing off with some heat and sweets, the Harissa chicken wings from Winner Winner and chili from Mission spiced things up– and the chili came with cornbread, an additional bonus. To finish it all off were the salted caramel apple squares, which I could have eaten twenty of. Feeling twenty pounds heavier but enlightened in the culinary arts, I left the Chef’s Collaborative feeling full, and, well, very full. Tommy Teravainen ‘18

Last Sunday, on the 1st of October, the Portsmouth Abbey Culinary Club enjoyed tasting a variety of exquisite and unique foods at the Chef’s Collaborative. The event was located behind Schartner Farms, where restaurants from around the state, both known and unknown, came to give the people of the community a taste of their best dishes. They had everything you could imagine, from raw oysters to fresh fried apple donuts. The location of the event and the weather could not have been better either. Being right by a small pond, people crowded the coast and wooden dock to both sit, relax and listen to the live band play all afternoon.

Out of the many dishes I tried, from the White Horse Tavern’s oyster dish, to Chef Pascal’s fish cake, my favorite by far had to have been the cold brew coffee from New Harvest that I drank, along with the fresh apple cider donut I ate from Eli’s Kitchen. The dark roast iced coffee I had from New Harvest was one of the smoothest coffees I had ever tried. Even though it was on the stronger side, with a little milk and some sugar it really came to life for me. With my coffee in hand as I walked by the many stands, I smelled the scent of the fresh apple cider donuts from Eli’s Kitchen, and could not resist. I decided not to save dessert for later, and dug right into my hot, crisp and delectable donut. The vanilla bean glaze on top, along with the dash of caramel truly was “the icing on the cake” for me. Overall, my experience at the Chef’s Collaborative was one to remember, and it will definitely be an event I tell my friends and family about for next year.   Dan Sliney ‘18

This October 1st was completely different than any other October 1st I have ever had, and that day, the Culinary Arts Club attended the “Chef’s Collaborative” event at the Schartner Family Farm in Exeter, RI. Being a new member of the Culinary Arts Club and a lover of food, my heart was full of excitement and high expectations; however, when I first arrived at the farm, my heart stopped. Behind these walls of trees, I saw a brand new world filled with uplifting music played by the local band, delicious fragrances roaming around the field, and of course, the appetizing delicacies provided by the best restaurants from Rhode Island. It was heaven on earth.

After tasting a large amount of food, I finally found my favorite dish. It was the BBQ grilled oysters with sweet corn and tomato from the White Horse Tavern. Unlike the traditional way of eating raw oysters, the chefs at White Horse Tavern applied a little twist. They grilled the oysters with topping of sweet corn to merge their sweetness and sea-saltiness together, creating a perfect balance for the flavor. The genius use of grilling also caused the oyster to become incredibly tender and juicy, melting in my mouth and smoothly sliding down my throat. It was unimaginably flavorful and definitely heaven for taste buds. I went back a couple of times after eating something heavy to re-experience the warming, juicy oyster comforting my stomach. Besides White Horse Tavern, there were also other restaurants that captured my attention with their delicious cuisines; for example, the marinated mussels from Persimmon, the Harissa chicken wings from Winner Winner, and chili from Mission Burger, etc… After two hours of tasting delicacies, I reluctantly returned to my bus with complete satisfaction, extreme happiness, and a barrel-like stomach. Sam Ding ‘18

Surrounded with pumpkins and trees in the farm, I could feel the autumn in New England is coming. I started my pleasing journey of food at Chef’s Collaborative 2017 with marinated mussels. My tongue could feel the freshness of mussels collaborating with marinated onions and crisps on top. The oyster from White Horse Tavern was really impressive with an incredible idea putting BBQ sauce on top of grilled oyster. The warm oyster with heavy but tasty BBQ combined magically.

Grilled cabbage with onions and peppers was also new to me. Back in Korea, I have only seen cabbage in the form of Kimchi with some spicy red pepper sauce. The cabbage from Kingfisher Catering was sour; onions were chopped with cabbage and the sun-dried peppers invoked my appetite. I could feel the genuine texture of cabbage.

The breeze of the autumn ended with autumn sweets: honey-chamomile French macarons, warm apple cider and soft latte with maple syrup. I should say the best one was maple syrup latte. It was the best harmony of bitter coffee and sweet flavor of maple syrup. Scarlet Shin ‘18

I started out toward the farthest tables and figured I could work my way back. Running to the first table I saw, I picked up the closest dish without looking. I scanned for a sign and found one that indicated this was “Cabbage Salad.” I had the strong urge to fling it down and run away as my biggest hate in all food is salad. Cabbage and I in particular don’t get along. It ruins corned beef dishes for me every St. Patrick’s day. Yet I had determined that I would try everything at this event, and so I faithfully open my silverware set and picked up a large bite with my fork. The leafy pieces themselves were quite good but the dressing had a strong flavor that didn’t sit well with me. I had a few more bites to see if my aversion was merely shock, to no avail. I passed my plate to Adam who quickly finished it off for me.

Next, I had a mussel dish. Three oblong, orange meaty pieces sat at the bottom of a bowl in a salty marinade, garnished with little leafy bits. Over the summer I had gotten into a seafood mood but cooked mussels had not yet gotten crossed off my list. I think it’s the strange color, which had convinced me they would poison me. Despite this, I scooped one up with all the drippy sauce. It was less chewy than I expected and more tender. I did expect the delightful, salty flavor. After this, my pack moved to the lamb sliders. My family occasionally has lamb on holidays so I knew somewhat how it would taste. I was particularly fond of the pulled-apart texture.

As a sugar addict, I was quickly pulled off real food when I encountered a donut table in the middle of the section of dishes. I watched as the Eli’s Kitchen chefs fried, cooled and glazed the donuts right in front of me before putting them out to eat. No one could stop me from getting myself one of those. They were smaller but taller than anything you could get at Dunkin. They were fresh, hot and covered in melty glaze, aesthetically crisscrossed in caramel. I took a bite and the bread inside was dense. The center was still a bit undercooked in a mushy way. I nearly grabbed another but I knew there would be other desserts to try (though my dessert stomach never gets full). I promised the donuts I would return as I backed myself away from their table. Crossing to the opposite side,

I ran into a new dish, which I did not recognize. It was a small circular patty on a pile of slaw. The sign read Chez Paschal’s “Fish Cakes.” I had never had a fish cake before so I didn’t know what to expect besides some sort of fish. Before I could ask too many questions, I popped a bite in my mouth. It had some slaw on the bottom, which I had also never had before. The cake was sort of squishy with an expected fishy flavor. I couldn’t place which kind of fish it was but I liked it. I finished the rest of the cake and followed the pack onward towards the next section.

Walking through the music tent, we arrived at a new set of tables. Spotting Mrs. Bonin and Mr. Calisto, we joined them by a tray of White Horse Tavern oysters. To my surprise, the oysters were covered in bits of corn and barbeque sauce. I had never imagined oysters as being consumed any way but plain. It was a seasonal twist on a summery food. I picked one up and found the chef had already loosened it–slurps up! The oyster had a warm flavor and a more meaty texture. I only realized after that they were cooked. The sweet corn and BBQ complimented well with the warm salty juices. With all this salt, drinks were in order. We moved out to search for water. By happy accident, we found a table with flavored seltzer. In my many dislikes, I don’t really drink carbonated drinks. They usually make my mouth feel weird and I can never finish them. But these were fruity and in fun glass bottles so, what the heck, I got a grapefruit-flavored bottle. It was so goooood. The bubbles were light and the fruity flavor was refreshing. I was ready for more.

Across from the seltzer stand was New Rivers’ raw bar. This I had been excited for. I had a raw oyster once over the summer and quite enjoyed it. To ensure it wasn’t a fluke, I grabbed two from the bar. At the urging of those around me, I agreed to test a shrimp and raw scallops. With these, we decided to retire from the standing and head to our picnic blanket. We crossed the treacherous hill of doom (which threatens all those with a swim in the lake) and settled onto the blanket. I squeezed a bit of lemon onto each oyster and loosened it with my knife. The first went down fast and cool. It was just as pleasantly slimy as I remembered. I slurped the next one up. I am definitely an oyster girl. Now I turned to the small shrimp monster. It then occurred to me that the shrimp had a shell and small legs. I had no inclination to eat those and had a feeling you weren’t supposed to. Sam sensed that I was lost and shelled it for me, explaining that I did, in fact, only eat the inside. The first bite was different than I thought. The shrimp tore apart delicately and had a light taste. The scallops came next. I’ve only had them sautéed before but raw was a whole other animal. They were most definitely cold and chewy. They have a dense quality almost like a gummy bear, but of fish. It’s more appetizing than it sounds (I promise not to go into sales).

Last and BEST were the lovely desserts. I think apple desserts might be the best ever so I had a field day. I had already died and gone to heaven with the donuts but there was more. First I tried a snickerdoodle. It was most definitely above average. Less seasoning than I would’ve liked but a good amount of sugar, which almost made up for it. That was followed by Ellie’s Bakery pumpkin whoopie pie. In the past I have avoided whoopie pies because I often find the filling too light, but this one looked special. The pumpkin brought a nice twist and went well with the plain filling. The best of all, though, was the apple squares. The bottom half was a base of bread or cake and the top was oatmeal and sugary apple flavor. This was the crown jewel. All this was consumed and washed down by some wonderful, fresh brewed cider. After my fizzy grapefruit drink, I refilled my bottle a good few times with the cider at the dessert station. A lovely ending to a lovely afternoon. Megan Madden ‘18

Culinary Arts Blog The Culinary Arts club headed to Exeter, RI to attend the annual “Chef’s Collaborative.” As I arrived at Schartner Farms, I had no idea what to expect, as I had never been to an event like this before. Once I entered through the grassy foliage, I was awestruck at the festive fall atmosphere. Live music, a beautiful view, and local cuisine overwhelmed me. Sampling various dishes from local restaurants, my favorite dish was from White Horse Tavern. The BBQ grilled oysters were addictive. I must have had at least six or seven. At first, the two hours that were allotted seemed plenty, but at the end I knew I could have just sat there all day on the picnic blanket eating. The Chefs Collaborative is a great venue to experience new food that you haven’t tried and to scope out new local restaurants. After attending, I am determined to go to Winner Winner in Newport and experience their Harissa chicken wings again. While I am always in Newport and have driven past the restaurant before, never have I ventured inside and eaten because I just knew nothing about the food. The Chef’s Collaborative instilled in me a desire to go to the restaurant after eating their chicken wing sample, which was amazing. This elegant dish of chicken wings with a little spice in the Harissa sauce topped off with a garnish of corn and tomato made for an exquisite snack. At the end of the day, sitting by the water and enjoying delicious food and camaraderie with my peers was a nice change from the hectic world of school. It offered a place of peace and enjoyment unique to anything else I have experienced. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has any interest in food and wants to experience a combination of dining and fun. Overall, I am so pleased that I got to participate in the tradition of going to the Chefs Collaborative and hope to continue going to this wonderful event! Spencer Kelleher ’18

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