This month you can enjoy Brentwood’s harvest right where it’s grown. On Sunday, October 7, the Delta-Diablo chapter of the sustainable food organization Slow Food will hold the Ark of Taste Harvest Dinner with an impressive lineup of chefs and some special guests from New Orleans.
Rick and Kristi Knoll of Knoll Organic Farms will host the event at their rambling Brentwood compound, and the chefs will include Kelly Degala of Va de Vi and Pres a Vi; Frank Palmer, culinary director for Jeff Dudum’s restaurant empire; Michael Tusk of San Francisco’s Quince; and Annie Somerville, chef at the vegetarian restaurant Greens.
Also in attendance will be Poppy Tooker, a southern belle with brown eyes, silky brown hair in a 1920s wave, and cherry red lipstick. Tooker is the charming emissary of the New Orleans chapter of Slow Food and the chairwoman of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, a project that aims to catalog and save endangered foods. Several members of the White Boot Brigade, a group of sustainable shrimpers from New Orleans, will join Tooker to discuss the distinctly flavored brown shrimp they catch from brackish inland waters and are beginning to supply to local retailers such as Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Fish Market.
“These are not big, trawled shrimp from deep waters,” says Tooker. “We’re trying to go back to the old ways, and we’re trying to find new sustainable ways.” (White Boot brigade shrimp are pictured above on the right.)
With any luck, some of those shrimp will end up on your plate, and you’ll leave with a belly full of food and a head full of ideas.
The event supports Slow Food Nation, a campaign to raise awareness of the slow food movement in the United States. Slow Food’s feisty Italian founder, Carlo Petrini, launched the campaign with his book, Slow Food Nation, and the effort will culminate with a four-day food festival next May in San Francisco’s Fort Mason that promises to be the food world’s equivalent of Burning Man.
Ark of Taste Harvest Dinner, October 7, 5–9 p.m. Tickets cost $125 and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/19727 . For information, call (925) 634-5959 or (925) 952-9643.