Want to support local food and farming and sample appetizers from chefs like Katy Smith? Buy your tickets today to the Eco App-Off, a truly unique celebration of sustainable agriculture.
Chef Katy Smith will bring her vibrant, seasonally inspired Mexican cuisine to the Eco App-Off at The Ecology Center on June 24th.
Here, we sit down with Katy to talk about creating a delicious ecological food future, waste-free cooking, and supporting biodiversity as a chef. Dig in!
Why is sustainability important to you as a chef?
It’s important to me first and foremost as a human. Knowing what goes into your body, supporting local businesses, taking care of our planet are all important to me as a human. As a chef, it just means more delicious and exciting products to work with. Biodiverse and naturally ripened produce just taste better.
What experiences inspire your cuisine?
Traveling in Mexico has been my greatest experience in learning and falling in love with the cuisine. I have been incredibly fortunate to get to travel across Mexico and eat everything from street food [to food prepared in] people’s homes to [meals in] fine dining restaurants. I’ve also had the opportunity to shop in the markets and cook there and nothing can beat that education or inspiration. What I’ve learned is that the family life centers around food. Around celebrating, eating, and cooking together, and that is what inspires me to cook everyday.
Where will you be sourcing your ingredients from for the Eco App-Off?
My dish will be Pork Cheek Sopes made from guajillo braised pork cheek, blue corn masa sope, garlic salsa negra, roasted poblano “crema”, radish, and cilantro.
Pork Cheek – Primal Pastures – I also love using underutilized cuts of meat such as cheek or jowl. Ending food waste by using every part of the animal is a key component to sustainability.
Sopes – Still working on it – We currently use masa made in LA from organic heirloom blue corn but the corn is grown in Mexico in an effort to revitalize these heirloom varieties that are going extinct and support Mexican farmers who are being pushed out by big business and GMO corn in Mexico. Working to find a local source for corn or even cornmeal.
Green Garlic Salsa Negra – Black Sheep Farm, made with California Olive Oil.
Radishes – JF Organics
Cilantro – Jerry Rutiz Farms
Poblano “Crema” – JR Organics Poblanos, Sun organic cashews
How do you develop relationships with local farmers?
I try to go to my local farmers’ market every Saturday that I am able. Getting to meet the people who grow your food is a true gift.
What’s one thing that a home cook can do in their own kitchen to support an ecological food future?
There are so many little things! My favorite is to start growing your own food. Even if all that you have space for is herbs in a window box. There is something really rewarding about growing your own food. You develop a different connection to it and a deeper respect and understanding of the people who grow your food.