The festival brings farmers, foodies, culinary masters, environmental thought-leaders and our sustainable beauty brand together to connect on important topics impacting our food system through food-related events, workshops and discussions. Chef Glover will kick off the weekend with a three-course meal showcasing unique new vegetables from Row 7 Seeds (@Row7Seeds), preceded by a special amuse bouche inspired by Davines' use of tomato extract in our NOUNOUproduct family.
The Davines Essential Haircare line of daily shampoos and conditioners – of which NOUNOU is a part – uses a different active ingredient from an array of Slow Food Presidia Italian farms in each of its families. Davines’ commitment to biodiversity and small-scale farming has inspired the collaboration between Slow Food USA and Chef Glover, resulting in an event that tastefully and tastily blurs the line between beauty and gastronomy.
We spoke with Chef Glover about her passion for creating meals from seasonal farm-fresh ingredients and her connection to the slow food movement.
You took a break from the restaurant world after feeling burnt-out, and spent time working on farms throughout the northeast and later Colorado. How did your time on the farms directly influence your work as a chef?
It helped me to see firsthand all the hard work, love and planning that goes into growing great produce. Being aware of that on a physical level, I try to take more care in the way I work with ingredients, and to make sure that I cook them in a way that helps their best qualities shine, rather than covering them up with too many other flavors or too much fussy technique.
You call Annette a “scratch to table” restaurant. What does that mean? How is it different from farm to table?
"Scratch to table" means that we make everything that we possibly can in house, from scratch. It means that we cure our own bacon and salmon, make our own sauerkraut, jam and pickles. We make our own english muffins and other baked goods. We make all of our stocks and sauces...the list goes on. We have great relationships with a lot of local farms—from Delaney Community Farm in Aurora to Esoterra Farm in Longmont—and even grow some of the restaurant's produce in our own garden, but it's not the majority of the food that we use, except in the summer and early fall. We don't call ourselves "farm to table" because throwing that phrase around when it's not deserved cheapens it, and takes away from the incredible efforts of the very few restaurants out there that are entirely farm to table.
What is it about the slow food movement that resonates with you?
We try to help our guests at Annette slow down and enjoy the ambiance, the people they are dining with and the food itself. So much goes into creating a great dining experience—the food is just a part of it. That ethos of slowing down and paying attention and savoring the moment—that's what resonates with me about slow food.
How do you come up with new menu ideas? Do you look to other chefs for inspiration?
We start with whatever produce is tasting great in the moment. Then, for my sous chef Chelsey Maschhoff and I, it's often about trying to recreate our favorite and most memorable foods from childhood and put the Annette spin on them, whether that's through adding a bit more lightness and acidity or an unexpected flavor. There are those cookbooks that I return to again and again for the fundamentals: Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, the Tartine books for anything baking-related. Lately I've been getting inspiration from Jeremy Fox's book On Vegetables.
Are there any challenges to featuring a seasonal menu?
This current growing season is a great example of those challenges! We had an incredibly cold and wet spring here in Colorado, so all the greatest hits of the summer farmers' market—the sweet corn, peaches and tomatoes—have been really slow in coming. By midsummer, people expect to see succotash and panzanella salad on the menu, and last year—which was incredibly hot and dry—we were featuring those dishes at this time! But I don't force it when the produce isn't there, since my cooking relies so much on bringing out the best qualities of great ingredients. It's hard sometimes to hold back until the produce is really at its peak, but when you have the discipline to do that, you get flavors that make it worth the wait.
What is your favorite seasonal ingredient to work with?
I love cooking hearty winter greens like endive on our wood-fired grill at Annette. A little bit of char adds so much flavor to endive, and the grill brings out its natural sweetness and heartiness in a way that nothing else can.
Recommend one item off your menu for someone unfamiliar with the scratch to table concept.
I would recommend the grilled beef tongue and marrow toast. We get the beef tongue from a ranch in western Colorado, then brine it for six days, braise it for six hours, and grill it. We top it with some cumin and coriander spiced sour cream and pickled beets or carrots—I love lots of brightness and acidity in my food—then we serve it alongside grilled sourdough bread slathered with a blend of bone marrow, butter and parsley.
For a sneak peak at Caroline’s featured recipe at Slow Food Nations see below!
photos courtesy of Slow Food USA
by Jaclyn LaBadia