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WIN: March 12th Earth to Table Dinner at The Culinary Vegetable Institute

Posted by cmh gourmand on March 4, 2011

I think the people at Chef’s Garden must feel sorry for me. After reading about my vegetable based recovery from February, they asked if I might want to come up for a Farm to Table Dinner. As a Slow Food enthusiast, I thought yes. However, as I read more and saw who was cooking I said YES! (before someone changes their mind up there).

So here is the deal. I am going and I have one ticket ($75) to give away. The winner is welcome to drive with me (and maybe CMH Tobias if he comes to guard the car) to dinner at the Culinary Vegetable Institute. We will depart at 3:05 PM on Saturday March 12th to allow time to stop if we find something interesting on the way up. On the way home, you can keep me awake and help look for deer crossing the road. You do have to pay for your drinks but I am the designated driver. I will also let you make i-Pod selections.

How do you win? You know the drill by now. Send me an email (click here). I will take e-mail entries until Monday March 7th at 10 PM. Then I will pick one winner at random for the ticket. If you do not care to ride with me, you can meet me there and perhaps have some of your friends buy tickets and come along. It is a good cause and the meal should be fantabulistical.

So why am I extra excited about the meal? Because I met Chef Ellis Cooley while sampling his menu at AMP 150 when I was CLEGourmanding last October.

What: Earth to Table Dinner with Chef Ellis Cooley

Where: The Culinary Vegetable Institute

12304 State Route 13, Milan, Ohio 44846

When: Saturday, March 12th, 6:30pm

I have copied parts of the press release below so you can decide how excited you want to be.

March Comes In Like a Lion And Goes Out Like a Lamb-Neck

Chef Ellis Cooley to Prepare Cutting Edge Cuisine for March Earth to
Table Dinner at The Culinary Vegetable Institute

MILAN (February 2011) – We have long been able to count on the old adage
that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. But to play it
out literally on the plate is something Chef Ellis Cooley of Cleveland’s
AMP150 will do for guests at the Earth to Table Dinner at The Culinary
Vegetable Institute.

His menu will offer an unusual array of protein selections that focus on
flavor including Slow Roasted Duck with Braised Caramelized Endive,
Homemade Smoked Kielbasa, and our March favorite…Braised Lamb Necks
with a Stew of Dried Beans and Mint. He will also feature seasonal
items from the nearby sustainable farm, The Chef’s Garden, such as Baby
Beet Salad with Lake Erie Creamery Goat Cheese Fondue, Roasted Carrots
and Parsnip Puree, Roasted Cauliflower with Beet Vinaigrette, Brown
Butter Kale, and Baby Fennel with Figs.

“I appreciate the passion Chef Ellis has for seasonal and sustainable
products. He is committed to regularly changing his menu to highlight
the best of the season,” said Farmer Lee Jones, the co-owner of The
Chef’s Garden. “He really gets it!”

About The Culinary Vegetable Institute

Tucked far back off State Rte 13 in cozy Milan, Ohio sits The Culinary
Vegetable Institute, a renowned retreat and culinary learning center for
the best chefs in the world. The concept of the facility was developed
in association with The Chef’s Garden (just miles up the road) and was
intended to foster creativity between chef and farmer.

Ellis Cooley, Executive Chef, AMP 150

With his simple, straightforward and ingredient-driven culinary style,
Chef Ellis Cooley combines a lifelong passion for cooking with more than
10 years spent working under many of the world’s most celebrated chefs.
Ellis started his career in his hometown of Atlanta, but quickly found
the desire to travel and work under a wider variety of top chefs. His
journeys took him through some of the world’s top kitchens in South
Florida, Spain, France and Austria before settling down in New York
City. After spending some time in New York, Ellis’ culinary skills were
rewarded when he was selected to open the ultra-modern Hotel on
Rivington on Manhattan’s lower eastside. After a successful opening
there, Ellis set his sights on larger properties, and he moved on to the
New York Palace Hotel to become restaurant chef. In search of a warmer
climate, Ellis sold his winter coats and moved to Miami, where he did
consulting work for private condominiums.

In 2009, Ellis was presented the opportunity to open farm-to-table
restaurant AMP 150 in Cleveland, where he currently serves as Executive
Chef. Since assuming that role, Ellis has become a master cultivator:
cultivating a thriving, critically acclaimed restaurant; cultivating
strong personal relationships with local farmers, patrons and
businesses; even cultivating a sprawling garden in a lot behind the
restaurant, which supplies hyperlocal produce to his kitchen. His
concept is simple: to offer local, seasonal and high quality ingredients
on a regularly rotating menu. And his passion for that work hasn’t gone
unnoticed. In the past year, Ellis and AMP 150 have been featured in
Midwest Living magazine, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Magazine,
Cleveland Scene Magazine, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Sun Newspapers and
numerous local television programs and blogs.

Ellis has garnered a number of personal accolades as well, including being named
a Rising Star Chef by Restaurant Hospitality magazine (2010), Best New Chef by
Cleveland Scene Magazine (2010) and Champion of Sustainability by E4S, an economic
development organization whose mission is to grow a sustainable regional
economy (2010).

When he’s not in the kitchen at AMP 150, Ellis stays busy with Dinner in
the Dark, a non-profit organization he co-founded that brings together
Cleveland’s top chefs every month to host a six-course dinner for guests
who are “in the dark” about the evening’s menu until they arrive. To
date, the dinner series has raised more than $25,000 from ticket sales
for local charities, all of which are hand-selected by each month’s
participating chefs.

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