Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Farmer in Chanel

The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell....

no the farmer in Chanel!

Accessorizing for an afternoon in the fields takes a stylish turn when you learn this heirloom yellow tomato plant is bearing fruit for all to see on the back lawn of the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee an hour and change away from Atlanta.

Carolyn goes for the gold plucking a perfectly

ripe heirloom tomato with Chef Jaco Smith.

Chef's Garden

Chef Jaco Smith, who runs Georgia's Bistro at the Ritz, is so dedicated with putting Southern grown products on his menus that he worked with local farmer Sid Cox of Deerwood Farms in nearby Sparta to carve out a section of the lawn in front of the terrace to create a Chef's Garden. In less than 8 weeks the little plot is bursting with tomatoes, mint, rosemary, three kinds of basil and lots of other herbs. "We don't even have to order these herbs anymore from our suppliers. We just pick our own for use in the kitchen."

Garden Chef for a Day

The Chef's Garden is open to guests who sign up for Smith's Saturday "Garden to Grill" cooking classes. And in total Ritzy style each guest cook gets his or her own personalized chef's jacket, an apron and a chef's hat of course. Then the cooking begins. First, Chef Jaco reviews the menu for lunch, then we pick what we need from the garden and assemble it all in an outdoor kitchen and on the grill. The best part is when other guests walk by and wonder "What's going on here?" "Who are these people in the chef's hats?" "How can I join the fun?" Simply sign up for the next class! The menu morphs with the seasons and Chef Jaco gave us the scoop on what's next, "We are expanding the garden to include Fall crops including pumpkins, squash and winter greens."

First Course:

Strawberry, Herb and Summer Green Salad with Sweet Grass Dairy Goat Cheese and a Kiwi Raspberry Dressing.

(Chef Jaco's lesson: a few fresh herbs go a long way in adding taste to green salads)

Second Course:

Herb Grilled Scallops and Shrimp with Heirloom Tomatoes, olives, capers and garden pesto.
(Chef Jaco's lesson: use fresh rosemary sprigs as skewers for grilled shrimp)

Third Course:

Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops with

Pickled Shallots and Raisins
Warm Fingerling Potato Salad

(Chef Jaco's lesson: use sourcream instead of mayo for warm potato salads b/c the mayo will separate when heated)

Pretty Fab Picnic! Overlooking sparkling clean Lake Oconee my group of "Garden to Grill" guest chefs leave the kitchen behind to enjoy the three course lunch we prepared with Chef Jaco Smith paired with wines from Georgia's Bistro.

I love camping!! Actually we coined a new phrase on this weekend trip to the Ritz-Carlton Lodge- Glamping!

With a round of glamourous activities including a sunset cocktail cruise, elegant private dinner in the Presidential House (with dessert in the billiards room), morning "Zen" kayaking on the Lake with yoga session on a little island, dinner by the Lake in the light and warmth of personal chimineas, marshmallow roasting around the Ritz campfire and pampering treatments at the Spa- this is definitely my kind of camping!

1 comment:

Medical Momma1 said...

Carolyn - I absolutely LOVE your blog!!! Fun, informative, inspiring! Keep them coming!
Your fan,