Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Today: Chefs Daniel Boulud & James Kent Join First Lady For Fall Kitchen Garden Harvest

First Lady will talk healthy eating & Chefs Move to Schools; first-ever White House pumpkins will be on display
UPDATES: A full post on the Fall Harvest is here *More on chef Daniel Boulud's visit is here *Poundage stats for the Harvest are here *The recipe for Kitchen Garden Pickles is here *The economic impact of Mrs. Obama's gardening outfit is here
First Lady Michelle Obama will host the 2010 Fall Harvest of the Kitchen Garden this afternoon. And in keeping with the White House tradition of inviting the best cuisinaires in America to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she'll be joined by two outstanding New York-based chefs: Daniel Boulud and James Kent.

Boulud is globally famous, and both he and Kent are involved with the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation, which the East Wing advises is "committed to the Chefs Move to Schools initiative through culinary mentorship." Boulud last joined Mrs. Obama at the White House when she welcomed hundreds of chefs to the South Lawn in June, for the launch of Chefs Move to Schools. (Above: Boulud in the kitchen of Daniel, one of his New York restaurants)

Mrs. Obama will speak about Chefs Move to Schools at the Harvest, and students from Tubman Elementary, the school the White House chefs have adopted for the project, will also join the First Lady in the Kitchen Garden, as will students from Bancroft Elementary School, a long-time partner in the South Lawn project. For the first time in 2010, corn was grown in the Kitchen Garden, as were pumpkins, and just like at last year's Fall Harvest, the sweet potato crop is major. There are also heirloom tomatoes, plenty of lettuces, peppers, herbs, and broccoli.

Boulud is a native of France but makes his home in New York, and his restaurant empire stretches from America to Beijing. He's written six cookbooks, and hosts After Hours with Daniel Boulud, a popular cable TV series. He's a three-time winner of James Beard Foundation awards, and he's also the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Bocuse D'Or USA Foundation, the American arm of the famed French culinary council created by chef extraordinaire Paul Bocuse. It provides mentorship and training to rising chefs, and helps develop competitors for the bi-annual Bocuse d'Or competition, regarded as "the Olympics of cooking."

Boulud's most recent project: A $16,000 dinner for two, in a pop-up restaurant in the London Eye Ferris Wheel, during the London Restaurant Festival.

Bocuse d'Or USA 2010 from Nathan Rawlinson on Vimeo.
Although he doesn't yet own his own restaurant, James Kent is a rising star in the culinary world. He's the sous chef at New York's Eleven Madison Park, and in February of 2010, he won the US Bocuse d'Or competition, and will represent the US in January 2011 at the international Bocuse d'Or challenge in Lyon, France. There, he'll compete against chefs from 24 countries for the best-in-the-world accolade. Kent was joined by chef Tom Allan for his win. The video, above, details their winning effort for the American competition. Kent used to work at Bouley in New York, where White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses was formerly the sugar spinner in chief, before he began his tenure as the most high-profile pastry chef in America.

*Boulud photo by Melissa Horn for New York magazine; video by Nathan Rawlinson