By now, we’ve all done the restaurant week thing somewhere. And though it’s a creative and community-building concept, some of us have gotten over it. So it’s refreshing to see a new take on a what’s now an old idea.
Enter SJ Hot Chefs Farm to Fork week July 20-26. Yes, 45 South Jersey restaurants will offer discounted prix-fixe meals for $25 or $35. Yes, chef/owners and their PR people will brag about how fresh and local their produce is–which truth be told, is a foundational mission of the Hot Chefs consortium anyway. But this year, the public won’t just get to see and taste the freshness, they’ll get to be a driving force behind it.
On Wednesday from 1-3pm, Duffield’s Farm in Sewell invites the public to pick fresh eggplant, peppers and green beans that the marketing team says will be cooked into some of the dishes being prepared the following week. In a special twist for kids, they’ll also get to turn their raspberries and peaches into some sort of value-added food that they can take home (we’re thinking a mini-pie or jam). And in a special twist for their parents, the “Littlest Chefs” contest solicits pictures of these kid-chefs making their creations for a chance to win a $100 gift card and a featured place for their dish on one of the menus.
Interested parents should post their pics to SJ HotChefs on Facebook or use the hashtag #SJLittleChefs on Twitter. We’re thinking the contest may be a ploy to keep these ‘rents from accusing the Hot Chefs of using child labor in the fields for their promotions, but whatever. Every kid should learn early where their food comes from, and having them pick some berries for dessert is certainly less traumatic than having them spend a day breaking down cows and pigs for the entree.
SJ Hot Chefs [Official]