The Chef's Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute are keeping chefs on the cutting edge.
The 2007 Chef Summit was Friday at the Culinary Vegetable Institute, drawing chefs and culinarians from around the country.
The summit was an educational and networking opportunity for chefs and culinarians. The day's program included farm tours, cooking demonstrations and a chefs' discussion panel.
More than 300 chefs and culinarians registered to participate in the summit, a prelude to CVI's Food and Wine Celebration on Saturday.
The celebration featured Paula Deen of the Food Network, White House chef Walter Schib and chef Jeff Henderson, whose story of life from prison to the kitchen will be portrayed in an upcoming film starring Will Smith in the role of Henderson.
The event sold out quickly after Deen was announced as a special guest chef. More than 1,000 people bought tickets. All of the proceeds from the celebration will benefit Veggie U, a non-profit division of Chef's Garden.
Bob and Barb Jones started Veggie U five years ago to help reverse the detrimental eating habits of today's young people.
"We think children are brilliant," said Lee Jones of Chef's Garden. "They need to be empowered with knowledge to make better choices."
Veggie U programs have been implemented in more than 600 classrooms in 22 states since its inception. The grassroots program keeps growing as businesses and individuals sponsor classroom programs. For more information or to sponsor a classroom, contact the Culinary Institute at 419-499-7500.
The Chef's Garden is a sustainable agriculture farm which grows and markets gourmet vegetables to be sold around the country. One-third of the farm's acreage lays fallow to the let the land rebuild its nutrients naturally. A step beyond organic, sustainable agriculture allows produce to grow slowly and naturally to enhance the quality of the produce and its nutritional value. The CVI opened in 2003.
"We've been plotting along at this for 25 years," Jones said. "The awareness is finally here."