A Handcrafted Dinner

An Evening in the Country. Sounds wonderfully idyllic, yes? And so it was for the diners attending Heirloom Fire’s event at Mill River Farm in mid-July. I’ve been working on Jim Gop’s kitchen crew this summer and it’s always amazing to see the approach of his creative mind.

Our kitchen space is outdoors, under the open sky, which has caused a small problem today. Rain is in the forecast, so our kitchen, already setup on a hilltop, has to be moved to a space close to the greenhouse where our guests will be dining.

The kitchen is beautiful: butcher block tables and shelves and iron-framed ovens (“infernillos”) and our chicken spinner. Once the relocation is complete, the fires are lit and the team pulls out the bushels of produce Jim has procured from across the region and starts to cut, cook and create.

Jim is a great cook, a chef, but also a showman. So Heirloom Fire’s events provide dinner and entertainment. We prepare the meal in front of guests, and provide them with the opportunity to ask about what we’re making, or where an ingredient has come from.

By the time the first guests arrive at 5:30, we’ve been working for over five hours. A sumptuous home-made charcuterie and cheese display is set up for folks to nibble from. We start assembling and sending our passed appetizers––tonight eggplant parcels stuffed with goat cheese, fire roasted clams with Mill River Farm chorizo and tomato custard tarts go flying out of our kitchen.

After a cocktail hour, guests assemble in the greenhouse. The farmhouse tables have been decked out by Magdalena Events with lights, flowers, and ceramics made by local potters. In the kitchen we start plating our dishes on the beautiful plates provided by the potters: Stephanie Boyd Works, Groundwork Pottery, Amrita Lash Pottery, Jackie Sedlock Pottery, and SandraWare.

The next few hours pass quickly, one course has barely left the kitchen before we’re setting up the next. Time flies and before we even realize it, the dessert plates have gone out to our diners. The sun has set, and as our guests wander back to their cars, we don our headlamps to pack up and load the Heirloom Fire van in preparation for its next culinary adventure.

Photos by Elaina Mortali Photography - http://www.elainamortali.com/

Heirloom Fire - www.heirloomfire.com

Magdalena Events - www.magdalenaevents.com

Mill River Farm - www.millriverfarm.org

Stephanie Boyd Works - www.stephanieboydworks.com

Groundwork Pottery - groundworkpottery.wordpress.com/

Amrita Lash Pottery -  www.etsy.com/shop/AmritaLash

Jackie Sedlock Pottery - www.jackiesedlock.com

SandraWare - www.facebook.com/sandraware.pottery/