Archive for July, 2012

Jul 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

Stephen Lott is the Chef de Cuisine at Pizzeria 712 and today is his birthday! In honor of this momentous occasion, we wanted you to get to know him a little better.

Where are you from? Orem, UT

How did you get started in the kitchen? I worked at a couple restaurants, then staged (interned) at Pizzeria 712 one day. I realized what I was missing, so I took a job as a dishwasher so I could learn. I didn’t go to culinary school, so I read a lot and I’m always trying new things. It might be combining a new ingredient with a technique I know, like braising a cut of meat that I haven’t worked with before.

What’s your favorite ingredient? My menus are inspired by what’s seasonal, so it changes it a lot. I also like to work with ingredients that aren’t really popular. I don’t try to mask the flavor; I want people to realize what’s great about it. Say you don’t like fennel — well, here’s something that’s really fennel-forward that highlights what other people love about it. Maybe I’ll change your mind.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? I’d be on the road, playing music. I was in a band where I did the vocals and bass. We were a hardcore metal band, so I was inspired by Medea, Godspeed, and Black Emperor. It’s always been music and food for me.

How tall are you? I’m 6’7. Everyone in my family’s pretty tall — I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers.  One of my brothers works at Communal. Hi Vance!

Is it hard being giant? It was pretty difficult to figure out where to get clothes. I’d go to Big and Tall and turns out, you have to be Big AND Tall. No Big and Short or Tall and Skinny, like I am.

What’s the story behind your skin art? I started my sleeve when I was 18. It’s a vision of a city being taken over by Nature. I’m really into post-Apocalyptic fiction like Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and Anthem. You know —  “what would the world be like if Man just disappeared?” My favorite book is The Passage by Justin Cronin.

What’s the question people always ask you? They ask me what my favorite meal is. I’m not fancy — I’d say my mom’s spaghetti bolognese. She makes some pretty solid Mormon classics, too.

How do you feel about the whole Food Network/celebrity chef craze? I’m not a huge fan of Food Network, but at the same time, I think it has done awesome things for the food industry. I’ve definitely seen growth in how people approach food and I think it helps people who are doing the real thing get great exposure.

Where do you see yourself in a few years? I always thought I wanted to own my own restaurant, but P712 actually feels like it’s mine because I have so much creative freedom. I mesh really well with the Heirloom brand, which is about making good food but not getting too wild or charging you a ton of money for it. I like to read about molecular gastronomy, but I think simple food is perfect. You can still awe people with good ingredients instead of scaring them.

Any unusual talents? I can shotgun a beer upside-down.

 

 

Jul 19, 2012

La Nay Ferme Farm Dinner

It was the afternoon of Friday, July 13, and it had only rained once in the previous 60 days. That meant little, however, to the Heirloom Group team as we watched storm clouds march steadily toward our set up for the La Nay Ferme farm dinner.

Farm dinners are usually romantic – a beautiful, warm summer evening with an idyllic setting; a light breeze; casual chatter; a sunset to linger over as you finish your elegantly presented meal.

That’s what we envisioned too. The table was perfect. Joseph, head of Heirloom Catering, artfully arranged burlap runners, Mason jar drinking glasses, and bundles of fresh leafy greens as the centerpieces. A panoramic view of Provo Valley stretched before us, but as the first guests arrived, so did the rain – tentative at first and then faster until we were confronted with a downpour, 50 guests, and an outdoor dinner with no shelter.

As more guests arrived, they huddled under a tent and snacked on homemade pita, hummus, and roasted peppers. The Heirloom team, pelted by rain, dripped and strategized. Our lazy summer farm dinner turned into a stand up family-style affair with laughter, confusion, and a bit of drama as we moved everyone into the basil hoophouse and a series of tents.

People grinned as they passed down dishes filled with as many ingredients as we could pick the day before at the farm. Our servers carefully sidestepped the baby spinach on either side. There was a salad with La Nay Ferme greens, radishes, carrot, beet, and feta; farro with corn, cucumber, mint, and parsley; squash with arugula and a parsley-almond pesto. The rain continued as we refilled glasses of strawberry basil lemonade and served tomato braised chicken with quinoa. It was only when dessert was presented (a fluffy corn cake with sweet corn puree), that the clouds broke and the setting sun shone over our damp, but happy guests, and the lush green crops of the farm.

As Casey, our DOO, says, “All in all it was a reminder that farm to table isn’t all romance and self congratulation for being green.  Sometimes it means wind, dirt, bugs, and rain. But in the end it was fun because the guests turned it around by having a good attitude.”

We want to thank everyone who braved the weather and turned the farm dinner into an event we’ll always remember. Eat well, friends.

 

Jul 05, 2012

La Nay Ferme: A local, organic Provo farm

If you’ve been in to Communal or Pizzeria 712 lately, you may have seen La Nay Ferme on our menus. Both restaurants are featuring greens from this local farm. How local is it? The greens go from ground to plate within 48 hours.

 

La Nay Ferme is situated high on Provo’s east bench, overlooking the valley and Utah Lake. Founded by Clinton Felsted, the farm is only one step in a larger vision. As the farm becomes profitable, it will fund the La Nay Foundation, which will offer classes and seminars on cooking, gardening and healthy living. Additional projects will include raising livestock, planting orchards, building a fish hatchery and a restaurant, and incorporating sustainable energy. The focus is on creating a culture of quality, beauty and service.

To show our support, 40 Heirloom volunteers spent a day this spring planting onions, radishes, and micro greens at the farm. We’re also holding a Farm Dinner on July 13. It should be a memorable evening of delicious food, beautiful scenery, and fun company! Sign up here.

Farm Dinner Tips from Clinton:

Finding the Farm. La Nay Ferme shares property with EastLawn Cemetary in Provo. The farm can be a little hard to find, so please plan accordingly. The address is 4800 North EastLawn Drive.

No bathrooms at the Farm. The farm does not have any electricity and there are no bathrooms. Please plan accordingly. The closet public toilets are in the Riverwoods Shops. It is about a 10 minute round trip from the farm to the shops.

Dress. We will be eating our dinner on ground where we originally planned to build a high tunnel and grow vegetables. Because the view is so beautiful, I decided that it would be wise to hold dinner events there instead. We will be walking and standing on dirt so please dress appropriately. I would recommend shoes that are sturdy and ones you don’t mind getting a little dirty.

Touring the Farm. Farm tours start at 6pm and end just before dinner. Dinner starts at 7pm.

Jul 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing you a spectacular July 4th from all of us at Heirloom Restaurant Group!

And to everyone who has been lining University Ave since last night, thanks for stopping by the Pizzeria 712 group camped outside of Communal to enjoy some late night food and sleep-deprived company. Enjoy the parade!