Central Park: Kitchen kings

KITCHEN KINGS

I was at the Winter Farmers Market in the parking lot of Nat Bailey Stadium Saturday to hear an announcement about a new program launching in June.

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The program, dubbed Market Kitchen, will see some of the best chefs in the city work their magic during monthly cooking demonstrations at Trout Lake Farmers Market. This is the first time in more than 10 years Vancouver Farmers Markets has hosted cooking demonstrations.

Ned Bell, executive chef at Four Seasons Vancouver, told me that before each demonstration the chef of the day will source out ingredients at the farmers market. That list of ingredients will then be made available to home cooks visiting the market who want to give the recipe a try.

"It's going to be even better than cooking at a high-end shop," said Bell, who was at Nat Bailey Saturday to support the Market Kitchen program. "To be here out in the elements, cooking in front of people. It doesn't get any better than this."

Bell brought additional support with him Saturday by way of Toronto-based chef Lynn Crawford of the Food Network TV series Pitchin' In. I hesitate to dub Crawford a "celebrity chef," because she didn't act anything like one during her visit to the farmers market Saturday. The affable chef chatted with market shoppers and patiently posed for photo after photo at the announcement. An obvious dog fan, Crawford also took time to speak to many owners about their pets.

I had the opportunity to chat with Crawford prior to the announcement and it was immediately clear why she's the ideal chef companion to Bell on the subject of farmers markets. Crawford's TV show Pitchin' In takes the farm-to-table concept to the extreme with the petite chef getting her hands dirty taking on the chores of food growers and producers from cranberry farmers to fishermen in hot pursuit of yellow tail snapper.

I asked Crawford why programs such as Market Kitchen are important.

"Look at this place," Crawford said gesturing to the crowd of shoppers checking out the farmfresh ingredients surrounding us. "Everybody loves food and this is a celebration of that. This is what life is all about."

Crawford adds it's important for people to meet farmers and be reminded of where it is their food comes from. "This is an incredible opportunity," she said.

The program kicks off June 16 at the Trout Lake Farmers Market with Karen Barnaby, executive chef at the Fish House in Stanley Park, followed by Bell July 21; Andrea Carlson, chef and owner of Burdock & Co. Aig. 18; Angus An, chef and owner of Maenam, Sept. 22; and Quang Dang, executive chef of West, Oct. 20. For more information, visit eatlocal.org.

FORE!

Golfers will want to hit Fraserview Golf Course next weekend to try their hand at the One Hole, One Swing $10,000 challenge.

At 7 a.m. April 4, golfers have the opportunity to win great prizes, particularly if they can hit a hole-in-one. The first 100 golfers to register will have the opportunity to try. The 18th hole will be transformed into a 170-yard, par three for men and 155-yard, parthree for women for their shot at a hole-in-one. Participants are allowed one shot only. Sorry but professionals need not apply.

sthomas@vancourier.com

Twitter: @sthomas10

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