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2941 Provides Fitting Finale to Farmers Market Chef Series

Providing the perfect season finale to the 2010 Falls Church Farmer’s Market Chef Series, Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel of 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church closed an exciting year of presentations with his own personal French-flavored flair Saturday.

 

IMG_0552Providing the perfect season finale to the 2010 Falls Church Farmer’s Market Chef Series, Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel of 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church closed an exciting year of presentations with his own personal French-flavored flair Saturday.

The esteemed chef also enjoyed quite an exhilarating year, in which he not only garnered the 2010 RAMMY Award for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, but also saw 2941 Restaurant ranked as sixth in Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants – 2010.

Although a chilly morning, Chemel’s recipes captured a devout audience. The appealing samples appeared vibrant in the warm shades of fall. Each delicate offering contained the fresh autumn produce provided by surrounding vendors, elevated in flavor by the chef’s hand.

Butternut squash soup drew crowds as its heady scents of apple cider, cream and curry infused the air throughout the market. The lovely orange samples disappeared quickly. While tasters admired the notes of warm coconut and tangy ginger, they were most fascinated by the spoonful of foam-like gelee crowning each cup.

As a petite work of art, the constructed beet salads were tiny in size, precise in rushed presentation, and gigantic in flavor. Served on a stick, the piece was structurally alluring, with a slight circle of beet adorned by a dollop of blue cheese cream and topped with a tiny sliver of caramelized pecan sharing space with a cube of quince, confit and vinaigrette.

Both dishes sang of the season and played to the audience’s love of locally grown, seasonal food.

An advocate of local eating, Chemel at one time held cooking classes once a month to assist people in finding and preparing fresh, seasonal foods.

“Growing up in Auvergne (France), it was simply the way we ate. Everything was local and you went shopping two or three times a week at the market and prepared your meals that way. I didn’t grow up eating fast food and I am not raising my kids to eat it,” Chemel said.

The Falls Church Farmer’s Market is unique in its ability to provide a large variety of vendors a diverse range of locally grown foods, while maintaining the sense of an intimate community that believes strongly in food and its origins.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see how many vendors go to the market each week and how passionate they are about their products, because that hasn’t been my experience at every market,” Chemel said.

Much of Northern Virginia is becoming concerned with the quality of food in their own homes, as well as in their eateries. Every Saturday, people hailing from all around the metro Washington D.C. area converge on the City, happily making the pilgrimage to the award winning Falls Church market.

“I love how diverse the Virginia food scene has become. Not only do we have wonderful restaurants, we also have some wonderful products grown in our backyards; wine, cheese, beef, you name it,” Chemel said.

For Chemel the market presentation series allowed him to actively participate in the fresh food movement, since a majority of his time is spent away from people while working back in the kitchen. The opportunity to talk about food and interact with people at the market is abundant.

“It was wonderful; people asked a lot of questions, which I like. They also seemed genuinely interested in cooking,” Chemel said.

Questions were plentiful, but compliments overflowed.

“We strive to bring Falls Church a restaurant they can be proud is located in their backyard,” Chemel said.

In total, over 1,000 samples disappeared into the crowd. Falls Church residents are evidently not only proud, but eager to show their appreciation.