Executive Chef Nicholas Walker photos courtesy patrick mogridge
Cobb Galleria Centre’s new on-site herb garden has proved to be a culinary coup for the venue’s chefs, who now have 20 different plants – from sage and mint to rosemary and basil – fresh at their fingertips. “Every other day we pick a five gallon bucket full of basil used to make pesto, basil oil and compound butter,” raved Executive Chef Nicholas Walker. “Everywhere we can use basil, we use it. I haven’t bought basil in a month.” The self-sustained garden, which consists of two large raised beds on the campus behind the kitchen, has helped the environment, as well, minimizing pollution by reducing the need to call in a food truck for a small quantity of herbs. The garden was the vision of Kirsten Gleaves, director of Food and Beverage, who said the goal was twofold: to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint and to meet the needs of the culinary team. “Chef Walker is passionate about using local products and would love to grow his own herbs, edible flowers and some greens,” she said. Expansion plans for the garden are already underway, with the addition of vegetables and a greater variety of herbs. The seasonal herbs will be replaced in the colder seasons with more weather appropriate substitutes such as kale, lettuce and wheatgrass; and in the spring, other vegetables will be added. Marigold is planted as a natural repellant for bugs, as the garden is free of pesticides.
Famed Chef Thomas Keller will be making an appearance Dec. 3 at Aria restaurant in Atlanta for a meet and greet to celebrate the release of his fifth book, “Bouchon Bakery.” Co-author Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, will also be in attendance, joining Aria’s pastry chef Kathryn King to prepare some sweet treats from the cookbook. Guests can enjoy pastries and desserts along with mimosas and coffee, while meeting the chefs. Released this fall, “Bouchon Bakery” (Artisan Books) is a dazzling amalgam of American and French baked goods, including all the classics that Keller fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris. Event cost, $35; book, $50. aria-atl.com. 128
First cover of Southern Seasons Magazine Holiday/Winter 2012-13 issue on newsstands December 2012.