They hand pick their produce and they bring it to us. When Doug Braman brings me a tomato, I know he picked that tomato. So the connections go beyond food.
—Terry Gereta, chef and co-owner, Mise Restaurant
Chef Terry Gereta of Mise Bistro
is thrilled to be participating in the the annual Farmers' Feast
for the third time. The outdoor gourmet meal raises funds for aspiring chefs and the St.Norbert Farmers' Market
. "It's a celebration. There's a huge crossover of ingredients right now. It's the best time to cook," he says. "It brings farmers, customers and chefs together."
His team, which includes his wife Sue and son Liam, will contribute a crispy potato cup filled with bison and porcini stew, topped with goat's milk cheddar cheese, fresh pea shoots and another crisp potato chip. And he's going to make over 300 of them.
"It will be two and a half hours of mayhem."
Gereta feels a strong bond to the local producers. Many of them, such as Braman's Greens
, are family operations like his restaurant. "They hand pick their produce and they bring it to us. When Doug Braman brings me a tomato, I know he picked that tomato. So the connections go beyond food. We can empathize with each other. It's a different level of business. It's more personal."
So while on the topic of personal things, SCENE asked Gereta to recommend a cookbook he finds particulary inspiring.
"The New Making of a Cook" by Madeleine Kamman (William Morrow & Co.)
And the one he reaches for the most often is a heavy tome called The New Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman. It's a cookbook filled with memories and superb techniques. And Gereta acquired it by accident when a former sous chef left it behind at the restaurant. "I put it aside, I started referring to it and I've been using it ever since," he says.
Gereta appreciates that it calls for no machinery. Everything is done by hand. "It's totally in-depth and it's an excellent reference book for any chef." For example, a crème anglaise
recipe runs a full four pages and includes detailed descriptions of the science behind the technique, such as how the eggs behave when heated. His favourites are the old school recipes, such as how to prepare duck confit
Kamman includes notes in the margins with extra tips or wine recommendations. "And because it's from my old sous chef, it's studded with little notes and pieces of paper that he left behind. And then I continued on leaving notes in the margins. It's like a time capsule going back years now," he says fondly.
The Farmers' Feast takes place on September 6 at the St. Norbert Farmers' Market, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.