I'm generally down with Top Chef (although the Chicago part seems rather missing from Top Chef Chicago). My main bugaboo, especially with the show this year, is the quality of ingredients. As much as I'm a Whole Foods shopper, call me crazy if I think Top Chefs should be shopping there. Do ingredients matter to the Top Chefs? Even when the chefs went to Green City Market, their subsequent creations did not play to the quality of the ingredients. Is this a trend? A sign?
I do think that for the most part, home cooks, let's not call us chefs, have the edge when it comes to ingredients. We can subscribe to CSAs. We can hit the markets. How many Top Chefs are getting access, right now, to crops like I'm getting weekly from Farmer Vicki. But, but, but... but, but, but; there's one thing right now that they have, and I covet. Ramps.
First there was Hat Hammond making us ramp-envious. Now, we got Janet Olvera in yesterday's Sun Times (h/t)
In case you were wondering, the Spence Farm ramps don't make it to farmers markets -- only to select Chicago restaurants and a few grocers in Fairbury, including Dave's Supermarket, to which the farm supplies seasonal produce. After all, keeping it local is a mission for the Travis family.Of course, there's no farmer's markets right now for Spence Farms to market. Last year, Whole Foods was carrying, for several weeks, ramps from Harmony Valley Farm, but as far as I can tell, they have not shown yet. I'm guessing some ramps will be at the Dane County Farmer's Market when they go outdoors next weekend. Otherwise, for now, it's advantage top chefs.