By Maria Cerretani
No Slow Food NYC event is complete without plenty of good food and April 11th's (s)low down was no exception. Brothers Daniel and Ben Delcoro of Fossil Farms served up every part of a brined and roasted pig, from the ears to the tail and everything in between, courtesy of Dealamann Farm and prepared by Hill Country. The accompanying side dishes showcased the kinds of collaborations between city chefs and regional farms that Slow Food NYC promotes through its Producers Matrix. Cayuga Pure Organics and Cato Corner Farms were among the local producers featured on the buffet table; and area restaurants Prime Meats, Stinky Bklyn, Ted and Honey, Frankies 457, Lunetta, iCi, and Runner & Stone contributed their time and talents to the feast.
As supporters wended their way through the exhibit at The Invisible Dog Art Center, they found themselves in a back room with a raw bar and a line-up of some of the most talented mixologists in the city. Perfectly briny raw oysters from Noank Aquaculture Cooperative were expertly shucked by a member of The Cleaver Co. staff and handed one-by-one to eager guests. Mixologists from city bars Little Branch, Clover Club, and Death & Company doled out exquisitely crafted cocktails featuring local ingredients and spirits. And Snail of Approval caterer The Cleaver Co. also kept partygoers happy with a selection of passed hors d'oeuvres that ranged from deviled farm eggs to wild herb pâté on housemade buckwheat crackers.
However, the (s)low down was not just an opportunity to enjoy great food and drinks. The night was also about honoring a member of the good food community for his work and to highlight Slow Food NYC's Urban Harvest program. Started in 2011 when Chef Mary Cleaver was honored, Slow Food NYC began giving out an annual "Snailblazer" award to pay tribute to individuals who contribute to a more sustainable food system. This year the "Snailblazer" went to Chef Bill Telepan, of the Upper West Side restaurant Telepan, for his commitment to supporting regional producers and to improving school food.
Chef Telepan was warmly introduced by Nancy Easton, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Wellness in the Schools (WiTS), and Rick Bishop, of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm. Nancy told the story of the first time she met Chef Telepan and how his subsequent involvement with WiTS helped strengthen and grow the program. Rick spoke warmly about his history with Chef Telepan and highlighted the importance of direct relationships between farmers and chefs.
Susan Weseen, an educator at P.S. 295 in Brooklyn, spoke eloquently about her involvement with Slow Food NYC's Urban Harvest program, which was a beautiful reminder of why we had all gathered together. Urban Harvest provides funding for a school garden at PS 295 and Susan spoke of the challenges and rewards of gardening with students in an urban environment. Her words underscored the importance of teaching children about food and the uniqueness of the Urban Harvest program.
At the end of the night, guests made their way next door to 61 Local to cap the night off with desserts from Brooklyn Farmacy and One Girl Cookies. An appropriately sweet ending to an inspiring event.
Maria Cerretani has been a Slow Food NYC board member since 2013 and was selected as a delegate to Terra Madre in 2012. She works in television production on projects ranging from comedy to educational children's programming.
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