The Joliet Junior College Culinary Arts Department will host its third annual Farm-to-Fork Gourmet Dinner Saturday, Sept. 26 from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet. This five-course meal is unique because the majority of the food will come from local sources, obtained from no more than 250 miles away.
Only 200 tickets are available for the Farm-to-Fork Dinner, so reservations should be made as soon as possible by calling Dori Miller at 815-280-2255. Tickets cost $75 per person.
Hosting this event is a way for student chefs – essentially, the area’s future cooks and restaurateurs – to learn about sustainability, and also that food is at its highest quality when served in season. Using fresh food as ingredients is always better than going with something prepackaged or out of season, according to Culinary Department Chair Mike McGreal.
“By hosting this event, we want our students to learn that every dish is only as good as the quality of the ingredients that were used to prepare it,” McGreal said. “To know your farmer is a great way to know and be certain of the type, quality and freshness of the ingredients you will be serving to your customers. This dinner will also help the community think about where their food comes from.”
Since produce can be in season at variable times during the year, McGreal said the menu is still being decided, however, diners can expect a family-style salad course; grilled, roasted, and slow cooked meat courses; poultry and salmon courses; a vegetable course; turkey and whitefish courses; and a dessert. Craft beer and wine will also be served.
Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served at 5 p.m., but guests are invited to come early to attend a farmers meet-and-greet, open to the public, which will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. At the meet-and-greet, guests can talk to some of the farmers who have provided the ingredients for the evening’s menu. Guests can also purchase their own fresh food. Other vendors, who appear regularly at the JJC Summer Farmers Market, will also be at the meet-and-greet.
Events like the Farm-to-Fork Dinner help fund scholarships for culinary arts students and professional development for faculty. For more information about the Farm-to-Fork Dinner, or to make a reservation, call Dori Miller at 815-280-2255.