Filed under: Events, Professional Development | Tags: chefs, Events, farmers
This year is the 10th annual Farmer-Chef Connection for the Portland area, hosted by the Portland Chefs Collaborative, a group of sustainability-minded Portland chefs. This also marks the 2nd year for Friends of Family Farmers to be a sponsor, and now a co-host.
The design for this day is to get area farmers, ranchers, processors, chefs, food buyers, students, and local food system activists together in the same room to build relationships, and to provide workshops to share tools to make these business relationships easier and more beneficial for everyone involved. Please spread the word to anyone that you think can benefit from this event.
One of the highlights of each FCC is the amazing lunch made up of donated product from local farms and ranchers, and cooked by some of the best chefs in the area! A real bargain for the $20 event registration fee. Please indicate on the registration form if you would like to help cook, donate food, or donate a raffle prize.
When: Monday, March 8th, 8am-3:15pm
Where: Clackamas Community College in Oregon City
Details and directions are on the PCC website at portlandcc.org.
Additional sponsors include: New Seasons, FoodHub, CCC Horticulture Department, Cascade Pacific, and the many volunteers and attendees who donate product and time to make this a wonderful day.
Keynote Speaker: Nicholette Hahn-Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop
Author Nicolette Hahn Niman is an author, attorney, livestock rancher, and until recently, sat on the Board of Overseers for the National Chefs Collaborative. Her book, Righteous Porkchop, details her experiences working first with Bobby Kennedy and the Waterkeepers Alliance investigating industrialized hog farms in North Carolina. More information about the author and the book can be found on her web page at www.righteousporkchop.com.
There will be some amazing raffle prizes from local food vendors – check out the list of prizes so far.
- Farmer-Chef Connections 101
- Farmer-Chef Connections 401 (Advanced)
- Licensing Your Food Product in Oregon
- Getting Products to Market/Farmers Market Intro
- Small Scale Livestock – Buying Local and Pasture Raised
- Introduction to Food Hub
- The Grains and Beans Project
Sign up now to save your place: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Hope to see you there!
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Notes from Our January Meeting
Fourteen local food professionals attended our latest meeting on Sunday, January 24. The meeting was hosted by Catherine Schon of Sassafras Catering in SE Portland. Everyone brought a dish to share at the potluck before the meeting (yum!) and each contributor to the potluck used their talents, skills, knowledge, and experience to create their individual dishes.
Protecting these unique talents, skills, knowledge, and experience from being copied or stolen by others was the topic of the evening’s discussion. This month’s guest speakers were Ann W. Glazer, a partner with the Stoel Rives law firm in downtown Portland who specializes in intellectual-property rights, and Tony Kullen, an independent attorney who provides legal and business-advisory services to start-ups and small businesses.
Recipes are a difficult thing to copyright because so many chefs at different restaurants cook similar dishes, using similar ingredients, said Glazer. Nevertheless, she pointed out several steps entrepreneurs can take to protect their unique creations:
Domain names: Register the domain name for your restaurant or business.
Patents: Patents are expensive and somewhat difficult to get. You can’t patent ideas. For example, you couldn’t obtain a patent on Chicken Pot Pie, since it’s already been done before, and making this recipe is not a unique process. Nevertheless, you could patent a new cooking utensil that you have invented, or a new way of doing something that is unique. For example, Glaser pointed out that George Foreman [probably] owns the patent on his “George Foreman Grill.”
Copyrights: Even though you can’t copyright a recipe (which is basically just a list of ingredient and a set of instructions on how to prepare them) you can a story or narrative that includes the recipe. For example, if you published a recipe that included a story of where the recipe came from and/or a personal anecdote about how you learned to cook that way, and who taught you, etc., you could copyright the entire story. You can also copyright a collection of recipes, if you publish online or in the form of a cookbook. To copyright something, simply put the copyright symbol (the letter C inside of a circle), the year, and your name or name of your business (example: © 2010 Acme Restaurant). Please note that this won’t prevent someone else from copying your recipe and serving it in their restaurant; however, it would signal to them that they shouldn’t copy your story and publish it as their own creation, or copy your collection of recipes and publish it as their own.
Trademarks: If you develop a unique product or brand name, you can register it at a trademark (denoted by the symbol TM) with the U.S. Trademark Office. Although not as expensive as getting a patent, getting a trademark does cost money.
Trade secrets: The most famous example of a trade secret is the recipe for Coca-Cola. As a restaurateur, you could (if you wish) protect your recipes and cooking methods as trade secrets–if you can prove you made a reasonable effort to keep them secret, says Kullen. For example:
- Don’t share your recipes with anyone.
- Make it a written policy to keep visitors out of your kitchen.
- Keep your recipe book under lock and key at all times when not in use.
- Write “Trade Secret: Do Not Copy” on the cover of your recipe book and at the top of every recipe.
- Require all of your employees sign detailed Non-disclosure Agreements before they start working for you.
One the other hand, some food professionals don’t bother trying to keep anything secret. They find they gain more exposure and free publicity by sharing their recipes freely, online, in print, or even by making individual recipe cards available at farmer’s markets and other retail outlets.
Non-disclosure agreements: A non-disclosure agreement is a written agreement between your and your employee, stating that if (when) they leave your employ, they agree to not take any recipes or cooking methods with them that they learn while working for you. You don’t want your former employees taking all your best recipes and cooking methods with them when they leave and using them in another restaurant, or using them to start their own restaurant that will compete directly with yours.
Of course, enforcing all of these provisions is easier said than done. “Lawsuits are costly and uncertain,” Glazer says. “It’s much easier to shame someone else into not stealing your recipes and using them as your own than is to sue them and win. A lot of this boils down to ethics. When you’re copying or borrowing someone else’s recipe for your own use, think of how you would want to be treated. You’d probably want some credit for it.”
“The best defense of your restaurant’s name and reputation is your own skills, experience, and the care you take in preparing and serving your food,” she adds.
In other words, if you prepare and serve your food with love and care and build a unique and favorable reputation for yourself and your business, someone else may be able to copy your recipes, but they won’t be able to compete with you!
Sample Non-Disclosure Agreement: http://www.nolo.com/products/noncompete-agreement-PR112.html
U.S. Copyright Office website: A wealth of information, forms, and instructions for copyright registration: http://www.copyright.gov/
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website: http://www.uspto.gov/
Have you ever wondered if you borrowed or reprinted a recipe that you would be stealing? Do you publish recipes on a blog or give them to friends? Have you found a menu item at another restaurant or posted online that looked like an original you created?
The upcoming meeting this Sunday is a workshop focused on intellectual property in the food industry. We’ll learn about the basics, when to use non-compete agreements, the pros and cons of giving away your intellectual property and how to go about effectively publishing recipes in print or on the web.
Many of you emailed to say that you are excited about this topic, and it’s shaping up to be a lively discussion!
Not sure you need the workshop?
If you know all there is to know about intellectual property and how it relates to the food world, then come for the networking. The meetings are a great place to meet others interested in food – we’ve had attendees in the past who are writers, PR consultants, architects, and photographers.
It’s a potluck
The format will be a potluck – we’ll eat at the beginning while networking and then listen to a few speakers with a discussion at the end. Please bring a dish for about 6-8 people.
Details and RSVP
- Date: Sunday, January 24th
- Time: 5-7PM
- Location: 2746 SE 37th Avenue (Clinton neighborhood)
- RSVP by commenting on this post below.
Hope to see you all there!
Each time I attend one of our meetings, I come away remembering two things: the food, and the stories. I can see Elizabeth Montes’ eyes describing her desire to create chocolate that is, not sexy, but sensual. I can imagine the bewilderment in the Nostrana walk-in when Kelly Myers was considering what to do with 80 pounds of tiny, tart, beautiful wild plums. I can taste the idea of the foods you describe, imagine, complex and amazing, tomatillo lime sorbet, habanero chocolate cake.
Given my love for stories, and food, and hearing storytellers up close and personal, you’ll understand my thrill when I learned that this year’s Wordstock was focusing on a few genres and one of those was food. I think you’ll agree that the writers I’m excited to see are masters of the storytelling art, like Lisa M Hamilton, whose book Deeply Rooted tells of several farmers who walk against the tide of conventional agriculture. Another is Shannon Borg, whose book’s quixotic and delightful nature is obvious just in reading its title, Chefs on the Farm: Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts.
Will you come with me? Next Saturday, October 10, several sessions in the afternoon are focused around food and (mostly) local women writers. At 6 p.m., after the sessions, let’s get together for a “picnic” potluck at the convention center. I’ll be attending sessions on Sunday, too, and hope I’ll see some of you on both days. Tickets for the festival are $5 per day.
Saturday food sessions:
- 3 p.m., Wieden+Kennedy Stage. Bill Thorness and Langdon Cook. Bill is author of Edible Heirlooms, a “beautiful book” about growing heirloom vegetables in the Pacific NW (Bill’s also a biker!). Langdon is author of the sparkling, entertaining story-book Fat of the Land, a series of essays about foraging in the Pacific Northwest. He is the reason I am seriously considering learning how to dig for razor clams (season opens soon!).
- 4 p.m., Columbia Sportswear Stage. Seasons of Change Panel with Tom Malterre, Shannon Borg, and Piper Davis: ‘How much should people be encouraged to eat seasonal food? Hear three authors discuss the challenges of providing a seasonal menu, the impacts of rising demand on famers and others aspects of eating seasonally.’ Tom is a certified nutritionist and co-author of the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Piper is the daughter of Grand Central Bakery founder and now is co-owner and cuisine manager of the bakery operation, as well as having co-written the upcoming (October 6th!) and, for me, hugely anticipated Grand Central Baking Book.
- 5 p.m., Columbia Sportswear Stage. Ellen Jackson, Piper Davis and Julie Richardson. Ellen is co-author of the Grand Central Baking Book, and has a very Portland history as pastry chef and chef de cuisine at Park Kitchen. Julie is co-owner of Baker & Spice, and gets cred for developing her career with a booth at the Portland Farmer’s Market. She’s the co-author of the dessert cookbook on the top of my wishlist, Rustic Fruit Desserts.
- 5 p.m., University of Oregon Nonfiction Stage. Lisa Weasel and Lisa M. Hamilton. Weasel is the vastly well-educated writer of Food Fray: Inside the Controversy Over Genetic Food. She earned her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge and she now teaches at Portland State. Hamilton also wrote a book on a Japanese form of natural agriculture, Farming to Create Heaven on Earth.
Sunday food sessions:
- 11 a.m., McMenamins Stage. Kate Hopkins. Kate is known online as the popular blogger Accidental Hedonist, and her book is 99 Drams of Whiskey.
- 1 p.m., McMenamins Stage. Shannon Borg and Ivy Manning. Shannon returns to talk more about eating with the seasons along with Portland writer and food-lover-with-abandon Ivy, whose books include The Farm to Table Cookbook and The Adaptable Feast, in which she explains how to alter seasonal recipes to please both the meat-eaters and vegetarians in your life.
- 4 p.m., Wieden+Kennedy Stage. Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Tom Malterre, and Alissa Sergerston. Alissa, a cooking instructor in the Puget Sound, co-wrote Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook with Tom. Isa writes “The Post Punk Kitchen,” a public access vegan cooking show, and has written a number of vegan cookbooks, most recently, Vegan Brunch.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this event earlier in the week: the creation of U-Pick at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. It’ll be a food, art, and words cookbook zine. From 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, zinesters will gather for a community event to lay out, edit and print a zine capturing community submissions. You’ll have to pre-register here.
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First, sorry for the late post!
We had an inspirational, informative meeting on August 10 with Kelly Myers, chef de cuisine of Nostrana and co-founder of Market Chefs.
At Nostrana, the menu used to change twice a day, every day. Back when they bought everything everyone would sell them, developing menus was like a culinary Rubik’s cube. But the skills and wisdom Kelly gleaned from an abundance of new ingredients and challenges has not only played a key part in Nostrana’s reputation as a destination restaurant.
Here’s a summary of the key takeaways. You can also download the file of Kelly’s handout, too.
Seasonal Menu Planning
- Quality is the reason to do seasonal menu planning. But it’s also how restaurants can best support the local food economy. We need lots of chefs who can think on their feet and get excited about fresh food that blows their mind when it comes in the door.
- Why do seasonal menu planning besides politically and ecologically? Because it gives you inspiration, vitality, creativity and a sense of focus. It’s not about feeling overwhelmed by abundance. Instead, you get to pick and choose what you work with.
- Even though seasonal menu planning is about thinking on your feet, it’s okay to work from a recipe. While ratios are important, the true way that cooking is like art stems from the fact that we’re all constantly borrowing from each other.
- You must make time for yourself to slowly taste things, preferably with someone next to you to give you feedback. The starting place is going to farmers market.
- If you’re a farmers market regular, try one in an unfamiliar neighborhood to discover new ingredients. Get out of your routine, observe how people shop in ways you don’t normally do yourself. Tap into that excitement. New smaller markets (Montavilla, Oregon City) are starting to feature microgrowers; these markets are nurturing new farmers. Identify growers who have specialties and decide who you want to work with. Form relationships with growers and tap in to greater wisdom.
- Excess of an ingredient (such as wild plums or huckleberries) can lead you to become a gleaner of ideas (huckleberry vinaigrette on beets) and developer of recipes that waiters can market to guests (huckleberry wild plum mostarda).
- When you’re feeling overwhelmed by an ingredient, stay within cuisine and identity of your business. For example, imagine the most Italian thing you can do.
- Follow the wisdom of elders, prevent fusion confusion craziness. There are people who have come before us who know these things.
- Deciding what to zero in on helps you to be profitable.
- Pick and choose; you don’t have to support every small farmer all the time.
- Remember, fresh local ingredients cook fastre due to higher water content.
After her presentation, Kelly broke up the attendees into small groups to develop 3-course menus using fresh ingredients she’d brought with her:
- Parslane (from Gathering Together Farm, does a lot of seed breeding, know what grows here). Lemony.
- Celery – is everywhere but grows locally too. Taste it – realize it’s tasty. The pale inner leaves chopped are quite good in grain salads or part of an herb mixture or egg salad.
- Medicinal mushroom
- Tomatillos, when you’re stumped go to the culture of that produce and learn what to do with it
- Summer chanterelles (much less moisture), flavor and texture more concentrated (dry more flavor)
- Bitter melon (Ayers Creek) – salt them to draw out some of the bitterness
- Jalapenos, Serrano, banana, Anaheim, poblano
- Padrone peppers
- Lamb’s quarters (use it like spinach)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Arabian blue barley
And here’s just a small sampling of the dishes the attendees dreamed up (I wish I’d caught all the ideas in my notes — I didn’t capture one of the most amazing menus, which — not surprisingly — from Amelia Hard’s group).
- Fromento cookie figs stuffed with goat cheese
- Flourless chocolate cake with habanero caramel Chantilly cream
- Sorbet of sweet cucumbers and local gin
- Ginger soup fresh celery with Arabian blue barley like rice porridge
- Roasted banana peppers, tomatillos, and lamb’s quarters
- Bitter melon with ground lamb, roasted figs
- Panang curry with parslane and other vegetables
- Figs in cabernet vinegar with goat cheese or savory goat
- Fromento cereal with maple syrup or maybe cooked figs
This was a creative and inspirational topic on many fronts that ignited not only a passion for seasonal menu planning but also deeper devotion to local farmers.
Adrienne Innskeep, our gracious host, wrapped up the meeting by sharing a quick overview of the online restaurant reservations software she and her husband developed based on their own challenges at Siam Society.
Various people were taking down reservations, and people showing up Saturday nights claiming to have a reservation. Because of the problems, Siam Society stopped taking reservations, which ended up frustrating guests.
They were approached by other online reservation systems, which were prohibitively expensive, required major hardwareinvestments, long contracts, and lots of training.
So instead, Adrienne and her husband developed their own solution — ResosPro, which offers restauranteurs simplicity and value. This homegrown solution has been battle-tested it at Siam Society, including this past Valentine’s Day. It features a built-in statistical algorithm that paces table turn time. That means it learns from past history what the statistical table time is, automatically stops taking reservations when it reaches maximum capacity.
According to Adrienne, it’s not too technical for technophobes, is easy to program, change table layout and hours of operation. It’s also easy for customers – it takes less than 30 seconds to make a reservation instead of getting redirected away from a web site or having to fill out a ton of info. You can learn more about it at http://www.resos.net
Help needed to keep this group going
I’m getting busier with work and not able to organize meetings as frequently (and obviously, I’m slower at posting updates and notes). This grass-roots effort has been going for almost a year now. Please don’t let it live and die by my schedule. If you’re willing to organize (pick a topic, recruit a speaker, set a date and location, post and email invites), I’d love the help. Let me know in the comments if you’re willing.
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First, a million thanks to Jennifer Fields for taking notes this past Monday night. She does a much better job at the blog posting than I do — I hardly even bother to tag anything. (Changing that with this post. Ahem!) Earlier today she posted a great overview of the social media session. Jennifer’s an awesome PR professional and a culinary school graduate as well, which makes her ideally suited for generating buzz about food and restaurants. If you want learn more about her, check out this lovely blog.
Also, many thanks to Amanda Oborne for hosting again. We’ll give your beautiful house a much-deserved break for the next session on season menu planning, to be presented by Kelly Myers (date TBD).
Lesson learned: don’t schedule a meeting on the same night that the IACP has a brainstorming session. We had at least four wonderful women who would have joined us if it wasn’t for the conflicting meetings. (By the way, we look forward to collaborating with the IACP in the future.)
For those interested, here’s a list of businesses and just plain cool folks that were at Monday night’s meeting:
- Amanda Oborne
- Amie Edelstein
- Blazing Hot Wok
- Dulcet Cuisine
- Guy du Vin
- Illahe Hills Country Club
- Little Pots and Pans
- Litmus Design & Architecture
- Lizzy Caston Communications
- Market Chefs (& Nostrana)
- Miss Zumstein Cakes & Desserts
- Ponzi Vineyards
- Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery
- Sahagun Chocolates
- Sassafras Catering
- Savor It
- Savor Soup House
- Siam Society Bistro & Bar
- South Park
- The New Civilization
- Urban Bliss Design
- Zot Baking Co.
(Apologies if I overlooked any individual or business — I tried to keep track of who was there as best as I could!)
Lastly, here are the files — one about Twitter from Lizzy Caston and the Facebook presentation from Marlynn Schotland. Check them out, especially if you didn’t make it to the event.