Monday, November 14, 2011

Grow Local Kitchen at Farmers' Market Takes Shape in Laura Wilson's Hands

Posted by on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 5:45 AM

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A big beautiful kitchen space set into the heart of the city's farm and producer market is poised to become a source of local production, cooking and learning.

That's the vision chef Laura Wilson has for her new role as the director of the Grow Local Kitchen at Nashville Farmers' Market.

Wilson, who has already begun the job, has big plans for the kitchen space as a production kitchen, demonstration space, learning center, a venue for visiting cookbook authors and a fun gathering place for traditional cooking classes.

"I want it to be community space that’s a business incubator, a cooking reference guide and a demonstration space," she said, multitasking as she met with the market's Jolie Yockey.

Imagine culinary skills classes taught by the city's deep bench of restaurant chefs. Wilson expects to use her extensive restaurant connections to schedule classes on knife skills, charcuterie, baking, butchery and more by people whose food you love to eat.

With two ovens, five burners and official approval from both the city health department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Grow Local Kitchen should be a coveted production kitchen for small local producers.

And when a couple of hurdles are cleared, Wilson plans traditional evening menu-based cooking classes with wine.

Wilson departed Turnip Truck Urban Fare in the spring, then spent her summer cooking around town at Tin Angel and Provence, and working with cheese purveyor Kathleen Cotter, and reimagining what she wanted from her career.

"I decided at some point that I was not going to do anything again that I wasn’t passionate about every aspect of," she told Bites. "I started looking at what I loved about my jobs and what I can’t live with. What I love is the relationships I’ve built with chefs, and with farmers and producers."

Joining the Farmers' Market as director of the kitchen let her concentrate on what she loves: cooking with other people who are passionate about food.

Bites will preview events at Grow Local Kitchen as we get word of them.

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