Food is one of the easiest and most important ways we as human beings connect with others. It promotes the sharing of culture and history, while encouraging growth and education about the course and where it came from. Studies have shown that people who eat together live longer – so go ahead and add a few years back to your life at SlowFood VastWine’s 2018 culinary event!
SlowFood VastWine’s mission? To bring the farm to the table. To support local farms and bring them into the spotlight by showcasing their ingredients through menus put together by three talented chefs is their way of bringing this mission to fruition.
It is so vitally important that consumers explore all food options, not just the ones you can find at the grocery store. Real, authentic and organic food is right around the corner, you just have to start searching! Locally grown food is full of flavor you won’t find in a watered-down grocery alternative. The featured chefs of SFVW believe in local resourcing, and their menus reflect that. This is the perfect opportunity to meet the people who eat, sleep, breathe, and run the places where you can get the freshest produce, meats, and products.
We got a chance to sit down with SFVW’s Event Coordinator to talk schedules, life, and this year’s April 28th event.
Q: What does your average day look like?
A: “I’m a stay at home mom, and I have 4 kids. My oldest is 7, and then I have a daughter who’s 6, another daughter who turns 4 here in May, and then my youngest son just turned 2. So my average day,” she jokes, “is when they’re home, I don’t know what I get done! I look back and I’m like, what did I do?” Her schedule is a healthy mixture of home and work life, both of which are vitally important to who she is.
“For the past year I’ve been in charge of running SlowFood VastWine for John XXIII [Montessori Center], which is their main force of trying to get any type of fundraising.” SlowFood VastWine was created as a way to raise funds for John XXII Montessori Center. With this money, the school is able to better the community by improving its properties and expanding the curriculum offered to kids.
Fun Fact: She co-owns Farm Fresh Cupcakes, a cupcake business that focuses on healthy, locally grown ingredients as the source of goodness.
“Leading SFVW has taught me so many things, such as an appreciation for all the sponsors and donors and their contributions even if they have no tie to the center. It’s a reminder of why it is important to support local business and even small businesses that are not as ‘local’.”
A Quick Bite: A well-cooked, savory steak paired with a New World red or Cabernet Franc from Rappahannock Cellars Wines, polished off by a Farm Fresh Cupcake.
Q: What is your favorite thing about coordinating such an awesome culinary event?
A: “I have to say its been learning about the different farms and what they provide. Over the past couple of years, especially after having kids, I’ve really been trying to get to the point where all of our protein comes from local farms.”
Kathleen is able to relate to these farms and locally sourced vendors on a deeper level – it’s not just what goes into her diet, but about what her children eat as well. This raises a divisive question: If you wouldn’t feed it to your kid, then why would you eat it?
“I really just enjoy learning from the farmers!” She finished.
Q: Do you have a memorable experience that has stuck out to you?
A: “My biggest experience with SlowFood VastWine this year has been just meeting the chefs!”
This year’s event will introduce three fabulous chefs from great locations throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Featuring eats from Elaine Boland of Side Saddle Cafe of Fields of Athenry Farm, Eric Foxx-Nettnin of Magnolias at the Mill, and Don Higby of Christendom College, you’re going to want to make sure you save enough room to try a little bit of everything.
“Getting to know them and their cooking styles and the farms they like to use… what brought them to become a chef. Elaine Boland I got to know, too… learning her experiences and her story behind her restaurants and farms. Really learning what motivated her.”
One thing is certain, chefs always have interesting stories to tell. Being able to pick their brains is any foodie’s dream come true, from learning about their path into the culinary arts to their favorite snacks, there is never a dull moment when striking up a conversation with one. Be sure to engage with the chefs at SlowFood VastWine, you might be surprised at what you’ll learn!
Kathleen humbly embraces the idea of this event really being a team effort. She added a huge shoutout and thanks to all of the wonderful people who have helped pull this thing together.
“All my help for the event are parents whose children also attend the center and their support, enthusiasm, expertise and time is something I cannot forget (it is all volunteer based) because this event wouldn’t be possible without them. We have 8 committee volunteers that I have been meeting and working with over this year to have another successful event – Mark and Laura Accettullo, Colleen Hencken, Kirstin Uhlenkott, Kelly Smith, Christina Chapman, Susan Hibl, and Michelle Castellan.”
Getting to taste fresh seafood, meat and produce, meeting some of the greatest minds behind the culinary scene in Virginia, and getting to know others in the community will prove to be an invaluable experience. P.S. – they’ve got an awesome list of auction-able packages that you won’t want to miss!
We are so delighted to have gotten even few moments out of Kathleen’s busy schedule. She is truly a wonderful person to chat with!