Farm-to-table describes a social movement focused on creating a direct link between consumers and farmers. At many restaurants, school cafeterias and hospitals across the United States, a delivery truck drops off everything from meat to milk to fruits and vegetables. Convenient? Yes. But chefs who practice farm-to-table sourcing prefer to establish direct relationships with farmers (usually small, local operations) to promote greater food safety, better nutrition, seasonal flavor and freshness, as well as environmental and economic sustainability for their customers, community and the planet.
Chef Michael Foust has become a leading voice in Kansas City’s farm-to-table scene. As owner of The Farmhouse and Black Sheep + Market, Foust heavily expresses his creativity through his food. Foust changes his menus on a daily basis to provide his customers with new combinations and diverse entrees. Chef Foust based the location of his restaurant, The Farmhouse, primarily off of its proximity to Kansas City’s City Market. As a supporter of the farm-to-table movement, Foust builds his menu using local foods from the Kansas City area. Using this method, Chef Foust is giving customers a real taste of what grows in Kansas City through the recipes he comes up with. Foust’s innovation with creating new dishes helps his customers discover more about farm-to-table by enjoying his diverse meals that bring the use of regional ingredients to the table.
As a long-time collaborator with Powell Gardens, Chef Foust is eager to work with his culinary team to learn more about sesame. “My knowledge of the plant is very elemental,” he says. “Beyond the seeds, I wonder can we use the root and stem? It will be really interesting to dive into.” Foust starts the exploration process of a new and unfamiliar plant by breaking down leaf, stem, bud, seed and roots and tasting each raw (if edible), then he works on cooked versions. When he finds a flavor or texture worth sharing, it will show up on one of his restaurant menus.
Key garden ingredients: tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, okra, dill, fennel, sage, lavender, hyssop, tarragon, sesame