The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

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2 4 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t What could the farm-to-table movement here in the United States learn from the Italian way of life, food and cooking? Making fewer statements about the actual sources and taking more action. Some chefs get lost in telling you all about the name of the farms or where things come from. But the farm- to-table movement has come a long way in this country, and I am truly impressed by the dedication of some individuals. I also think that focusing on old school, simple cooking methods is always a struggle, because everyone tries so hard when it is not necessary. To me, farm-to-table means simplicity in general. Give me a grill and some wood, and I will put on a show. When developing a menu, what is your creative pro- cess? What inspires you? I usually look at the farmer's market availability whenever I need to create a new dish, so the season for sure. The seasonality also always drives the level of complexity in the plate presenta- tion as well; I am one hundred percent about the flavors for sure. At Acre, you grow everything from apples to zipper peas. What is your favorite season for produce or favorite heir- loom/heritage product? I adore the transition from spring to summer. The blend of the two seasons never fails to provide a magical world of bright and beautiful colors for chefs to paint with. Beautiful straw- berries, snap peas, zucchini, then through the woods for fiddleheads, morels and chante- relles, and then. . .the heirloom tomatoes! What has been the most re- warding moment of your career thus far? I can't explain how valuable my family is to my career. When we were dreaming up Acre, their support and mentorship was in- tegral to every detail in our food, decor, ambiance, values, and all of the character. Sara Gasbara Owner/Lead Garden Girl at Verdura in Chicago, Illinois If you are a culinary professional inter- ested in being featured here or want more information on Chef's Roll, please email David Bancroft Executive Chef/Partner of Acre Restaurant in Auburn, Alabama Giuseppe Ciuffa Owner/Executive Chef of Giuseppe Restaurants & Fine Catering in San Diego, CA How would you describe your cooking philosophy in five words or less? Clean, plant-forward, nutrient-dense and FIT (flavorful, intentional, time- efficient). What has been the most rewarding moment of your career thus far? Getting the patent for my organic Eat Cleaner line. I know that our food safety and shelf life extension products can be a game-changer for people's health and wellbeing, and getting the patent was like getting my "license" to do it in a big way. What's your favorite guilty pleasure food? Black truffles—hands down, the sexiest, most aromatic and wondrous food on the planet, and it comes from the ground! It's like putting a crown on any dish and elevating it to an otherworldly level. I literally go crazy for them; my endor- phins start firing, and I feel like I want to go climb a mountain or go skydiving or something. We've partnered with Chef's Roll, the global chef and culinary professional network, to learn more about chefs from around the country.

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