When you already are an accomplished chef, author, and restaurant owner, what should you do next? If you are Frank McClelland, you become a farmer and promote sustainable agriculture.
Chef McClelland is the owner of L’Espalier, the trio of Sel de la Terres, and Au Soleil Bakery & Catering. All of these businesses are successes in their own right. L’Espalier is a AAA Five-Diamond restaurant that is filled with a well-renowned staff. Sel de la Terre is a regular on the Best of Boston list and has been praised by major publications, such as Esquire and Wine Spectator. Au Soleil is leading collaboration with the Green Restaurant Association in the creation of a new “green” certification for the US catering industry.
Chef McClelland began his newest endeavor this past year with the revitalization of Apple Street Farm. Using these fourteen acres, he provides his restaurants with produce, eggs, fowl, and pork. In the method of sustainable agriculture, leftover items are used as compost or feed for his livestock.
To share the bounty from his first farming season, Chef McClelland hosted Harvest Dinner on Wednesday, October 28th at L’Espalier. This four-course dinner highlighted produce and proteins from Apple Street Farm.
A delightful menu filled with local ingredients was served. The first course of mesclun green salad with baby leeks, haricots verts, and bacon lardons was paired with 2007 Tour de Gendres Bergerac. Coq au vin with roasted pumpkin and black Tuscan kale was served as a second course, accompanied by 2007 Morgan Cote du Crow’s. (Chef McClelland noted that the coq au vin was his favorite dish on the menu, “It’s a perennial French classic which has been a favorite of late from the reminiscing around my friend Julia Child.”) N.V. Clairette de Die was paired with a cheese course that consisted of Hannahbell, Burratta, Harmony, and Classic Blue. The evening was completed with a dessert course of apple tarte tatin with fennel ice cream and a glass of La Face Cachee de la Pomme.
Throughout the evening, the diners were provided with anecdotes and information that paired with each course. Chef McClelland introduced each of his dishes and shared a few farm stories, such as experiencing a tomato blight. Maitre d’ and Grand Formager, Louis Risoli, educated diners on the cheeses served that evening. Sommelier, Peter Powlovich, introduced the wine paired with each course.
From this dinner alone, the success of Apple Street Farm and sustainable agriculture was quite evident. Beautifully presented and perfectly created, the dinner highlighted the amazing variety of local ingredients available.