Outstanding in the Field – Farm Dinner at Lake Meadow Naturals

Outstanding in the Field – Farm Dinner at Lake Meadow Naturals

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‘Restaurant without walls’ travels to Florida for January table-to-farm feasts in warm-weather locales.

Outstanding in the Field (OITF) was founded by Jim Denevan who came up with the idea of setting a long table on a farm and inviting the public to an open-air feast to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food. Honoring the the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it, the ingredients for the meal are almost all local and sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table. Bringing the farm to the table is a movement that redefines what it means to eat fresh, seasonal, and local food.

Since their first table in 1999 near Santa Cruz, California, Outstanding in the Field has staged farm-to-table dinners in all 50 states across the United States and nine countries around the world. Hundreds of talented chefs, including dozens of Top Chefs and James Beard award winners and nominees, have cooked in OITF’s pop-up kitchen.

At a ranch, sea cove, vineyard, rooftop, sea cave, and occasionally inside a refurbished barn or greenhouse — Outstanding in the Field’s unique locations create an elaborate dining experience that is visually powerful to diners, and inspires a broader discussion of where the food comes from.

IMG_1458Tonight’s dinner was hosted by Dale Volkert (Farmer/Owner – Lake Meadow Naturals) and prepared by Chef Kathleen Blake (Chef/Owner – The Rusty Spoon). Guests arrived early in the evening for cocktail hour and a tour of the property. At the center of the field was a long table with the most beautiful view of the land, accompanied with friendly farm animals. The simplicity of the white table and clear glasses provides a blank slate for the chef to feature the food’s vibrant colors as the centerpiece.

It was an incredible opportunity to be surrounded by a diverse crowd and converse with the farming community. Chef Kathleen Blake prepared an impressive multi-course meal, complete with wine pairings for each meal. Each dish was served on handmade pottery by local potter, Joshua James Freeman.

HOST: Dale Volkert, Lake Meadow Naturals, Ocoee, FL
GUEST CHEF: Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon, Orlando, FL

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Made some friends on the farm..
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Chickens roaming freely on the field.
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Oh, hello!
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BYOP (Bring Your Own Plate) // A tradition that continued from the very first OITF dinner back in 1999, each guest brings their own dinner plate to the table. A long table set with a myriad of contributed plates provides a colorful one time only table setting.
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Deviled Eggs
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Lake Meadow Naturals // Chicken liver mousse on Olde Hearth crostini
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Grilled Lake Meadow Naturals // Chicken hearts, port lacquer
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Old Hearth Bread
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Lake Meadow Naturals Honey Butter — ADDICTING.
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Waterkist Farm // Heirloom tomatoes, sunflower sprouts & sea salt
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Waterkist Farm // Heirloom tomatoes, sunflower sprouts & sea salt
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Hammock Hollow // Little gem lettuces, Sunny Morning goat cheese croutons, pickled local kumquats
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Two Doves Farm // Charred cauliflower & Belle Fiore radicchio, preserved lemon
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Underneath the stars . . . such a magical evening.
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Lake Meadow Naturals cracked wheat with Two Doves Farm & Hammock Hollow herbs
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Lake Meadow Naturals // Whey braised cornish hens
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Lake Meadow Naturals // Duck egg sabayon, strawberries, rosemary shortbread
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Lake Meadow Naturals // Duck egg sabayon, strawberries, rosemary shortbread
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*Applause*
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Chef Kathleen Blake + Team

Special Thanks:
Dale Volkert, Lake Meadow Naturals (Ocoee, FL)
Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon (Orlando, FL)
Carlos Jimenez, Waterkist Farms (Oviedo, FL)
Shannon & Janine Talty, Olde Hearth Bread Co. (Casselberry, FL)
Charlie Andrews, Hammock Hollow Herb Company (Island Grove, FL)
Joshua James Freeman, Pottery (Orlando, FL)
Bold City Brewery (Jacksonville, FL)
Local Roots (Orlando, FL)
Two Doves Farm (Webster, FL)
Sunny Morning Foods (Orlando, FL)

. . . and the Outstanding in the Fields crew!

To find out where Outstanding in the Field is traveling to next, visit their website: http://www.outstandinginthefield.com/

KRYSTLE NGUYEN is a food enthusiast and many of her childhood memories were created in the restaurants that her parents owned while she was growing up - trying new dishes and interacting with customers. You can catch her on the weekends exploring Orlando or helping her parents manage the family restaurant, Saigon Noodle and Grill. Photos taken by Krystle Nguyen with the Nikon D5000 DSLR and Olympus OM-D E-M10.

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