Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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Huge Crowd Turns Out For Chef's Circle Finale

Huge Crowd Turns Out For Chef's Circle Finale
A huge crowd spent Saturday morning on the Salem Farmers Market with Junior Masterchef Logan Guleff, Chef Jeff Bland and Salem Animal Shelter today as we closed out the 2015 season of The Chef's Circle at the Farmers Market program.

The two talented chefs bantered with the crowd and delivered a zucchini bruschetta with homemade ricotta, Italian Sammies complete with London broil and pickled onions and a delicious dessert panzanella loaded with fresh peaches and ice cream.

In addition, patrons brought donations for the Salem Animal Shelter and two great dogs were adopted and given their forever homes! Thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of today's program!

The Chef's Circle cooking demonstrations have been taking place on the Salem Farmers Market in the summer months since 2009.
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Trio from Virginia Western Thrills the Market

Trio from Virginia Western Thrills the Market
Jim Zeisler, Instructor of Culinary Arts at Virginia Western, brought two of his students to entertain the Chef's Circle.

"Chef Z" started the day with a crunchy summer salsa featuring grilled peaches and jalapeño peppers. Becky Simmons, one of the students took over the show with a puréed bacon zucchini soup that smelled as good as it tasted. Becky also prepared a raspberry cucumber salad.

"P. Willy", another of Chef Z's students, prepared an eggplant ratatouille with zucchini and tomatoes seasoned with basil and sea salt. Zeisler finished the day with a peach & raspberry topping paired with vanilla ice cream.

All members of the audience urged Chef Z that his students deserved an "A" for their final grades.
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Mary Rapaport gets crakin' to start 2015

Mary Rapaport gets crakin' to start 2015

The "Chef's Circle" opened its seventh season of cooking demonstrations on the Salem Farmers Market in front of a captive audience. The very talented Mary Rapaport from the Virginia Egg Council entertained those in attendance for over an hour as she prepared seven different recipes. 

The self-described "home cook" whipped up a Farmers Market Omelet, Fresh Tomato Salsa, a Fresh Berry Trifle, Migas, Spanish Rice and Poached Eggs, Scottish Eggs and a Strawberry Dessert Omelet. All in attendance were able to sample her delicious creations and take home the recipes.

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Floyd Native Wakes Up Chef's Circle with Spicy Fish Tacos

Floyd Native Wakes Up Chef's Circle with Spicy Fish Tacos
Christopher Parkhurst, a Floyd County native who is now the owner and Executive Chef of Firefly Fare in downtown Roanoke, entertained another big crowd at the Chef’s Circle on Saturday, August 2.

Parkhurst, got into cooking while working his way through college at a Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurant while he was at the University of Georgia. He has since turned his passion for food and people into a successful culinary career,
and during his Chef’s Circle presentation he not only discussed his life experiences and his restaurant, but he gave those in attendance a number of helpful cooking tips.

He prepared fresh fish tacos using snapper from Topsail Beach and an Asian inspired slaw dressing that contained red cabbage, garlic, ginger, lime juice, carrots and rice vinegar. Parkhurst also provided the Chef’s Circle guests with a fresh double mint tea.

Firefly Fare is located inside the Market Building in downtown Roanoke.
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Jeff Bland & Susan Bahorich Entertain the Crowd

Jeff Bland & Susan Bahorich Entertain the Crowd
WDBJ7’s Susan Bahorich tag teamed the Chef’s Circle on Saturday with Chef Jeff Bland and turned in a championship performance. The two entertained a huge crowd on the Salem Farmers Market for 90 minutes and also fed each and every person huge samples of their three culinary creations. Bland, who has lost 160 pounds in the past year, offered up some healthy and unique dishes, as well a couple that all of can use when we want to "spoil ourselves" a little.

The two made a spicy Korean Kimchi cabbage dish that was full of flavor and topped with a compressed grilled watermelon. The two then followed that up with an Italian dish that included cheese filled ravioli, mixed with sausage, eggs and cheese. The eventful and informative presentation was then capped off with a triple berry pie accented with salted caramel ice cream. Chef Jeff also supplied some peach, basil lemonade to wash everything down.
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Big Deal visits the Chef's Circle

Big Deal visits the Chef's Circle
One of the most creative young chefs in America was front and center at the Salem Farmers Market Saturday morning. Aaron Deal, the Executive Chef at the highly acclaimed River and Rail restaurant, held court in the Chef's Circle.

The North Carolina native, who has been an executive chef in both Charleston and Chicago, as well as Roanoke, used fresh market ingredients to prepare a Cucumber Gazpacho complete with Carolina White Shrimp from Topsail Beach.
Deal entertained a huge crowd of foodies with helpful cooking tips and interesting stories about a variety of his experiences including his stint on the Food Network.
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Larry Bly and Larry Dowdy join Jeff Bland for some fun

Larry Bly and Larry Dowdy join Jeff Bland for some fun
Legendary Roanoke radio personalities Larry Bly and Larry Dowdy joined forces with Chef Jeff Bland to open up season six of the Chef's Circle on the Salem Farmers Market on Saturday, June 28. Bly, who was the co-star of the ultra-popular cooking show "Cookin' Cheap" for 27 years, brought a Stuffed Taco dressing recipe to the mobile kitchen that was a big hit with those in attendance.

Both Larrys shared numerous stories about their years in broadcasting and as always - Chef Jeff more than did his share! He brought the patrons a refreshing strawberry lemonade and some cake bites for dessert!
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Chef's Circle goes to the dogs with Jeff Bland

Chef's Circle goes to the dogs with Jeff Bland
Chef Jeff Bland from US Foods took over the Chefs Circle this morning on the Salem Farmers Market with a special presentation done in conjunction with the Salem Animal Shelter.

Chef Jeff cooked up a variety of menu items that proved to be satisfying for both people and pets. In addition, Salem Animal Shelter Manager, Rebecca Custer, informed those in attendance about the practices of the shelter, including its relatively new and increasingly popular volunteer program. Many of the attendees brought donations of dog or cat food for the shelter, but the best food came out of Jeff's kitchen.

He made sauteed zucchini with a bolognese sauce complete with ground buffalo meat. His all beef no preservative hot dogs with fresh slaw and a gourmet blueberry whole grain mustard were a big hit, as well. He then finished things off with carob dog cookies and peanut butter mousse.
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Matt & Bob pull out all the stops for Chef's Circle

Matt & Bob pull out all the stops for Chef's Circle
Chefs Bob and Matt brought new meaning Go Big or Go Home!! This cooking demonstration was above and beyond anything that has happened at the Chef’s Circle this season! Setting out a beverage table, which consisted of vanilla iced coffee, an Arnold Palmer (tea & lemonade), and a watermelon cooler was just the beginning of an amazing demo – Tomato Salad, a Greek arugula salad, seafood bisque, and polenta topped with spicy chutney & goat cheese. These delights were rolling out of the kitchen as fast as Matt and Bob could describe what was happening! Thanks to special volunteers from the audience, large portions were served quickly – many folks complained of being too full to sample dessert! Matt and Bob wrapped up the show with a simple warm fruit crisp topped with Homestead Creamery ice cream. With a crowd of over 100 people, this was the largest event we have hosted this year. These guys proudly represented Roanoke College in a way that was greatly appreciated by all of those in attendance!
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Mary Rapoport and Lindsey Nair get "Eggs-traordinary"

Mary Rapoport and Lindsey Nair get "Eggs-traordinary"
Roanoke Times Food writer, Lindsey Nair, joined Mary Rapaport, the Consumer Affairs and Education Director for the Virginia Egg Council, in the Chef’s Circle kitchen this morning on the Salem Farmers Market.

A persistent rain threatened to call off the cooking demonstration, but a faithful crowd of “foodies” turned out and participated for more than an hour, refusing to let the wet stuff get in the way of a tasty start to the weekend.

The two entertaining cooks prepared a Blueberry Stuffed Brunch Puff, Signature Deviled Eggs, a scrumptious Farmers Market Frittata, a Breakfast Sandwich and then capped things off will a highly creative Watermelon Angel Food Cake.

Thanks to our great vendors on the Salem Farmers Market who contributed many of the delicious fresh ingredients!
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Nathan Sloan from Local Roots goes with local vendors

Nathan Sloan from Local Roots goes with local vendors
Nathan Sloan, along with his Sous Chef Matt, treated the crowd to a delicious herb & berry infused green tea that was refreshing and summery – a perfect start to the day. Then they whipped up a delicious Farmers Market succotash that was the perfect complement to grilled bison tenderloin. The colorful vegetables were diced, sautéed, topped with thinly sliced tenderloin and drizzled with a demi glaze. The best part of this Chef’s Circle was that it utilized many vendors and items available at the farmers market. A professional demonstration that was simple and delicious.
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Michele Carder adds some flare to Chef's Circle

Michele Carder adds some flare to Chef's Circle
Chef Michele treated the crowd to an unbelievable seafood couscous dish that was out of this world. Shrimp, scallops, bacon, spinach, herbs, and cheese are just a few of the ingredients that Chef Michele used to create an unbelievably tasty pasta dish that was full of flavor and a favorite of the audience. This complete meal had everything you could ask for and more! Chef Michele then followed this up with a sweet and unique apple enchilada that was topped with fresh whipped cream. It was easy to see why Michele is a perennial favorite of the Chef’s Circle.
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Steve Alls gets summer started right

Steve Alls gets summer started right

Chef Steve Alls brought southern style and Asian flair to the Chef’s Circle on Saturday.  He started things out cool and easy, blending up a summer beverage that was unique and refreshing for a humid summer morning.  The Watermelon Cucumber Crawler was perfect for a holiday weekend cook-out!

Chef Steve then heated things up with his own twist on Szechuan Green Beans, liberally adding fresh ginger, chili paste, and green onions.  These perfectly sautéed beans were crunchy, sweet, and a little bit spicy!  Luckily there was plenty of the Watermelon Cucumber Crawler to pass around a second helping!

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James Zeisler kicks off a new season of Chef's Circle

James Zeisler kicks off a new season of Chef's Circle

James Zeisler put on a great season-opening cooking demonstration, kicking things off with a fantastic show.  Joining Chef Z in the kitchen were 3 students, Andrew, Demetrius, and Glenn.  Together these 4 men treated the crowd to a wide array of delicious treats:

Grilled squash & zucchini, Bison-stuffed Cabbage, Broccoli Salad, Rum-Glazed Peaches, Blueberry Soup, and Fried Chicken & Gravy

These first and second year culinary students added an interesting twist to the Chef’s Circle, while gaining valuable experience working in front of a live audience.
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Billie Raper ends the chefs season in grand style

Billie Raper ends the chefs season in grand style

The season finale of the Chef’s Circle 2012 series was set up to be a great presentation, and the Executive Chef Billie Raper of Hotel Roanoke did not disappoint!  This year Chef Billie, along with his sous chef, Conner Johnson, really wowed the audience with a fantastic cooking demonstration. 

The guys kicked off the morning with a delicious refreshing beverage they named ‘Cherry Cloud’, focusing on Murray’s local cherry cider, sparkling apple cider, and a little dash of heavy cream.  This delicious Cherry Cream Soda was a huge hit with the crowd and really set the stage for what was to come.  Chef Billie and Conner rolled right into a Fresh Apple Slaw, using apples and cabbage from the market vendors, and a dressing made from reduced apple cider.  This fresh summer salad was the perfect complement for the next two items on the menu. 

The Southern Style BLT took things up a notch, starting with the grilled Sourdough bread, herbed mayonnaise, arugula lettuce, thin Virginia bacon, and topped off with a fried green tomato.  This was thought to be the hit of the season…until the Chef Billie moved on to a grilled chicken dish, topped with savory peach sauce.  Using fresh peach jam, purchased at the market, along with fresh cilantro, fresh peaches, red wine vinegar, and a few other seasonings, this marinade / sauce on top of the grilled chicken was amazing – the crowd begged for seconds!

Finally, Chef Billie and Chef Conner wrapped up the 2012 season with a fabulous jam tart – so quick and easy, and topped them with a fresh whipped cream.  The perfect ending to a perfect season.
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Bland and Webb pull together amazing dishes

Bland and Webb pull together amazing dishes

Chef's Circle fan favorite Jeff Bland returned to the kitchen on August 11 with a very familiar face in tow. Jay Webb, WDBJ-7 meteorologist and the host of “Weekend Diner,” helped whip up three dishes for boisterous crowd that had a great time interacting with the two personalities. Bland first put together a refreshing Watermelon Agua Fresca drink that went very well with the shrimp appetizer he surprised the audience with to get the presentation started.

The executive chef for US Foods then put together a tasty Crab and Corn Salad with Melon Vinaigrette. Cantaloupe fresh from the Salem Farmers Market was combined with honey, red wine vinegar, honeydew melon, olive oil, fresh mint and basil to provide a nice bonding agent for the fresh crab, roasted corn and heirloom tomatoes. The seafood dish was served with lettuce and tortilla chips.

Bland and Webb then literally threw everything but the kitchen sink into their “anything goes” pastry pudding. Oreos, apple pie, cupcakes, honey buns and a menagerie of ingredients made up what turned out to be a heavenly treat! Check out the recipes in our 2012 recipe section!

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Kroger's Steve Alls gets peachy

Kroger's Steve Alls gets peachy

The executive chef for Kroger Mid-Atlantic opened up the month of August at the Chef's Circle with a highly entertaining and informative presentation. Steve Alls, a Glenvar native who has cooked everywhere from Salem to Hawaii, took advantage of the fresh fruit on the Salem Farmers Market to deliver two tasty treats for the audience.

Alls, who is the host of “Cookin' with Kroger” the program that airs on WSET every other Sunday morning, began the day with a very tasty non-alcoholic sangria. The peach and nectarine concoction also featured a little basil, lemon and lime juices, agave nectar and ginger ale.

Alls then continued the peach theme by making a delicious peach Melba dessert complete with vanilla ice cream and an awesome raspberry, lemon sauce that also featured a touch of red pepper flakes. He made sure everyone knew that “raspberries and peaches are home boys!”

Alls also answered a number of questions from the audience related to his favorite foods to knife selection to the proper way to prepare a steak. Check out his recipes in the 2012 recipe section.

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Roanoke College chefs crêpe it up

Roanoke College chefs crêpe it up
The largest crowd of the season turned out at the Chef’s Circle on July 28 as Roanoke College chefs Bob Prophet and Matt Phillips turned back the clock with a 1970s staple that is still a crowd favorite today. The popular duo whipped up both a dinner and dessert crepe for each of the more than 120 members of the audience. As a healthy contingent of co-workers from the college looked on, the chefs used fresh ingredients supplied by more than 10 of the market’s vendors to produce a hot crepe loaded with chicken, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and a menagerie of fresh herbs and spices. Each one was garnished with cherry tomatoes and a balsamic reduction drizzle.

The chefs then whipped up a cold crepe that featured a filling made of fresh peaches and blackberries. All of the crepes were made from scratch and each one was topped off with a small scoop of “Froyo” – a refreshing and surprisingly easy to make frozen yogurt. The chefs also took care of the young kids in attendance by providing them with the old fashioned “Push-Up” ice cream treats, which were a huge hit.

Bob and Matt also helped the adults in attendance beat the heat by providing three delicious beverages – a cantaloupe cooler, Arnold Palmer iced tea and an out-of-this-world iced coffee!
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Chris Parkhurst "Fire"flies in to save the day

Chris Parkhurst "Fire"flies in to save the day

Chef Chris Parkhurst of Firefly Fare showed the crowd that you don’t need much time or elaborate planning to impress your friends and family. On short notice Chef Chris came prepared with a delicious and tart peach limeade that set the tone for a fun summer morning. He then sliced heirloom tomatoes and topped them with toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes and the result is a tasty summer dish, which Chris had prepared ahead of time.

He then took colorful potatoes and sweet onions from Greenwood Farms and created a flavorful dressing using sour cream, mayonnaise and stone ground mustard. This warm salad was a crowd pleaser that had everyone requesting the recipe.

Firefly Fare is located in the Roanoke City Market Building in downtown Roanoke. They focus on fresh, locally sourced food that is healthy and affordable. Their farm-to-table mission is the perfect compliment to the Chef’s Circle and the Salem Farmers Market.

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Michele Carder delights crowd with sugar and spice

Michele Carder delights crowd with sugar and spice

One of the Chef Circle’s most popular guests, Chef Michele Carder, took over the kitchen during week number three of the Chef’s Circle. The former owner of “Michele’s on Main” told those in attendance that she loves trying to guess the ingredients restaurants use in their recipes. To that end, she whipped up some palate pleasing Chicken Nuggets that she marinated in pickle juice…just like the big boys do! After dipping these in a light coating of Autry’s breading, she deep fried them in peanut oil and served them with sliced carrots, celery, squash and a splash of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce. The Sweet Chili Chicken Salad was a big hit!

Michele, who is now the executive chef at Salem Terrace, then whipped up a seasonal “Berry Delicious” layer cake for dessert. After slicing a sheet cake in two, she spread a mixture of cake icing and whipped cream in between the layers along with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Once the top of the cake was put back in place, more icing and more berries completed the tasty treat.

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John McCrady creates summer delights

John McCrady creates summer delights

Salem’s own Chef John McCrady proved that the summer heat was no match for what he cooked up in the kitchen. A great crowd came out to enjoy the Chef’s Circle, and Chef John did not disappoint. He started the demonstration with a delicious fresh raspberry lemonade beverage. While the samples were distributed, John moved right into a fantastic shrimp and cheesy grits medley. Using fresh mushrooms, herbs, and bacon, John created an aromatic rue that was the ideal base for the shrimp and grits.

John wrapped up the event with a fresh and creative summer pasta salad. Using fresh broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spiral pasta, this cool salad was a meal in itself. Chef then whipped up a unique and flavorful vinaigrette dressing that complimented the vegetables and pasta perfectly.
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Jeff Bland kicks off the Chef's Circle in style

Jeff Bland kicks off the Chef's Circle in style

Chef Jeff Bland of US Food brought his “A-game” to the table with an energetic presentation that had the crowd eager for samples. With a quick introduction to quinoa and couscous, Chef Jeff proceeded to demonstrate how to think outside of the box and utilize these items in both an entrée and dessert! Using fresh produce, along with local goat cheese from the Salem Farmers Market, a wonderful main course salad was created, perfect for a summer-time meal. By switching up the cooking process and including orange juice and coconut milk, the couscous blend was topped with vanilla custard and fresh peaches. The flavor and texture was perfect for a warm summer day.

The third item, risotto Milanese, introduced saffron to the Chef’s Circle. Chef Jeff created an aromatic dish that had the crowd salivating well before the samples were even ready. This item was really more of a base that could be enhanced in a variety of ways, including the addition of mushrooms, asparagus, or spinach. Chef Jeff Bland kicked off the 2012 season by setting bar high for our upcoming chefs!

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Bring your lawn chairs,
kick back and enjoy a taste
of Salem's Farmers Market
in downtown Salem! 9:30AM

THIS IS A FREE EVENT!

 

June 13 - Mary Rapaport - Virginia Egg Council
June 27 - Jim Zeisler - Culinary Institute, VWCC
August 8 - Jeff Bland (US Foods) and
Logan Guleff (Junior Master Chef) - Bark on the Market