The success of Taste of Blue Ridge’s second annual flagship Root to Table event, held at the Hillbrook Inn and Spa, came as a pleasant discovery to some, and a celebration to the hardworking people who created it.
Friday, August 24th 2018 proved to be a memorable night for the books. Guests, family, and friends began arriving around 6:00 p.m. and carried the festivities well into the night. At close to midnight, many lucky folks were able to turn in at the Hillbrook’s welcoming rooms and properties – a hidden gem in West Virginia’s Northeastern panhandle.
The night’s menu consisted of ingredients and items grown and sourced locally, right here in the Shenandoah Valley. Paired with top executive chefs from around the region to prepare them, the menu items were:
A Loudoun Summer Bounty Salad, complete with radishes, beets, tomato, corn, sprouts, cucumber, grapes, greens, feta & peppered cider vinaigrette – prepared by Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin of Magnolias at the Mill. Many of the fresh ingredients were grown by Tranco Farm and Shiloh Farm, truly exposing the Shenandoah Valley as the agriculturally rich food destination that it is. This was the night’s first appetizer.
Taste of Blue Ridge had the pleasure of working closely with Chef Marcus Repp, Loudoun County’s renowned chef of Lansdowne Resort and Spa. Berryville, Virginia’s Audley Farm supplied his Argentinian Gaucho-style Steak. Thanks to the tenderness of the meat, mushrooms, and pickled garlic (an intimidating, yet surprising favorite of many), this appetizer was absolutely delicious.
Chef Steven Ferrell of the Hillbrook Inn’s Redbook Restaurant, alongside Chef Damien Hinck of Hollywood Casino’s Final Cut, worked closely in preparation of the night’s entrée – an entire pig cooked below ground. The pig came courtesy of Farmer Andrew at Spring House Farm who proved to be a great friend inThe chefs, along with Hillbrook’s owners, worked tirelessly through the night to ensure that the earth oven used to roast the pig in was perfected.
Chef Damien provided guests with a taste of tender pork tacos, paired with pickled red onion, refried peanuts, and salsa made with herbs from Hollywood Casino’s own garden.
Chef Steven followed the pork taco entrée with his own version: Chinese steamed bun, cucumber kimchi and black garlic sauce. The flour used for the steamed buns came from Wades Mill in Walkers Creek, VA, while the cucumbers were freshly supplied by Chefs Garden.
Dessert was unique, and not just because of what it was, but because of who made it! Taste of Blue Ridge’s title sponsor, Schenck Foods Co., has been a great supporter of Root to Table’s mission from day one! Schenck’s very own Abby McAllister, their Farm to Table Specialist, repurposed her previous experience as a fantastic pastry chef to prepare the night’s dessert: peach cornbread upside down skillet cake with hand-dipped buttermilk ice cream. To everyone’s delight, the cake come out in hot, cast iron skillets and was followed by a speech from Abby to wrap up the night.
Taste of Blue Ridge’s focus is and has been on these wonderful chefs, farmers, and the ingredients they grow and cultivate. We had some amazing people come out that Friday evening who also connected with our “root to table” mission, and we are so grateful for their contributions. A huge thank you to:
Carrie – Frugal Foodie Mama
Susan – Edible DC
Johnna – Johnna Knows Good Food
Without the support of our sponsors, Schenck Foods Co. and Hollywood Casino, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Its not often that you find people who believe as passionately about your mission as you do, so we were incredibly lucky to have connected with these wonderful people!
Throughout the night, chatter could be heard from all corners of the property. Under the tent, people laughed and clinked their glasses together. By the fire pit, conversations, jokes, and discussion were plentiful. Those who stayed out late that night were able to enjoy homemade s’mores by the fire and dive into meaningful conversation with guests, chefs, and farmers.
If there’s anything that the success of Root to Table this year has shown us, it’s that the Blue Ridge’s Shenandoah Valley is a destined food scene. Located just an hour outside of Washington D.C., we encourage you to join us at our next event!