April 22, 2014 – The James Beard Foundation’s 4th Annual Chefs Boot Camp descends on Costanoa Lodge near Pescadero this weekend for three days of classes on cooking local and creating change in the community. “It’s a little intimidating,” admits Costanoa executive chef Mo L’Esperance, who will supervise meals, as well as attend sessions. She already has a dinner of halibut with asparagus sauce, frisee, manchego, prosciutto and bread crumb planned for the first night.
Fifteen chefs from around the United States were selected for the program based on their desire to “drive change in the food system.” Costanoa was selected to host the boot camp because of its close proximity to high quality local ingredients and because of its commitment to sustainability. The lodge has it’s own certified organic garden, which will provide produce like snap peas, arugula, kale and fresh herbs for the meals.
“It’s also really exciting to be able to cook for the chefs during their stay,” adds L’Esperance. “It can sometimes feel a little isolated out here and I’m looking forward to getting their feedback and grounding.”
The boot camp—run by Wholesome Wave founder Michel Nischan and JBF trustee Eric Kessler—includes sessions on Sustainable Seafood and The Power of Chefs. Participants will also get training in how to create an advocacy campaign around a series of food issues and how to craft effective messages.
The chefs will spend one day out at sea salmon fishing with Captain Roger Thomas on his boat “The Salty Lady,” based in Half Moon Bay. The next day they’ll spend time at nearby Green Oaks Creek Farm slaughtering a pig that’s been raised on kitchen scraps from Costanoa Lodge.
The final night will feature a collaborative dinner prepared by all the chefs. Fresh ingredients, such as the salmon and pork, will be laid out on tables for the chefs to use and the resulting creations will be shared family style. Additional organic local foods are being donated by Harley Goat Farm, Mary’s Duck Eggs, Jacob’s Farm, Markegard Grass Fed, Blue House Farm and Earthbound Farm.
“It’s a real honor to be able to host the James Beard Foundation,” says Costanoa Sales Director Teri Giordani. “The practices they will be teaching really align with our philosophy of supporting local farms and helping grow the food movement.”
All of the chefs come from very progressive restaurants around the nation, but L’Esperance is especially interested to meet Ari Taymor of Alma Restaurant in Los Angeles—who was recently named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s best new chefs of 2014.
While the James Beard Foundation events are not open to the public, you can stop by anytime and try Costanoa’s new hyper local spring-summer menu. They are open seven days a week, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.