We toured 63rd Street Farms in Boulder to get a first-hand look at the amazing Farm to Table Program offered by the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder and its sister school in Austin, Texas. We got to meet and tour the farm with the amazing Michel Escoffier, chef instructor Steve Nalls of the culinary school and farmer/all around Renaissance woman Amanda Scott!
Each student is required to participate in the Farm-to-Table experience toward the end of their culinary program, which provides an immersive experience in the production of the ingredients that they have come to use so creatively. The Auguste Escoffier school has trademarked the “Farm-to-Table” experience, spearheading the movement toward locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable ingredients and the implementation of mindful practices within the restaurant industry. Each student spends several weeks on numerous farms and production sites around the Boulder area, spanning from the most fundamental- earth and dirt sprouting of leafy greens, wine and cheese making, to the slaughter and butchery of locally loved live stock. The program stresses the quality and creativity of their cooking techniques, turning out amazingly skilled and innovative chefs, but their program pushes this skill to the next level. The necessity for a return to the highest quality, seasonal product is at the forefront of the discourse; students experience, first hand, what separates the mass-produced from the hyper-local, a pure dependance upon quality and a full respect of the ingredient. One of the most important aspects in my eyes, has to be the intense, visceral experience of the slaughter and butchery of an animal. While most of us experience the high-gloss facade of pre-packaged meats easily found in chilled coolers at our closest market; there is a distinct respect that one gains when participating in the life and death of what will soon grace our plates. As a chef or cook, I find it necessary to respect the ingredients that you use, thus respecting the people you nourish and feed. Pleasure is the goal, yet how much sweeter and more succulent that flavor is when you have seen or experienced the struggle of cultivating that meal in its entirety.
This is truly an amazing and innovative program that will create a fundamental change in our food system and really spark a new enthusiasm and appreciation for locally sourced, seasonal products. I love to see that the next generation of chefs here in Boulder and around the world are being exposed to a different perspective on food production. We’re beginning to see that supporting local producers is not only amazing for the palette, but supports the local economy and creates a new respect for the ingredients.
For more information on Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Producers involved in the local Farm to Table Program:
Innovative Meat Packing