Les Dames d’Escoffier Cleveland Chapter at Whole Foods

By Shara Bohach | Photos by Shara Bohach and Britt Marie Culey

Nichole Clark

Whole Foods Market Cedar Center welcomed the Cleveland Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier Tuesday evening for a delicious look inside some of their special programs. Dames enjoyed four courses prepared and presented by team members from various departments, each sharing insights and passion about their food and mission.

Dame Nichole Clark, currently Store Team Leader at the Woodmere location, welcomed us at The Kitchen Counter, the Cedar Center restaurant she helped to open in 2007.

Josh Chung, Prepared Foods Team Leader, prepared and served the four courses with his team.

We started off with a glass of D’Arenberg “The Hermit Crab” Viognier Marsanne, a buttery, smooth, fresh, summery white wine.

Todd Burrows, Bakery Team Leader & Certified Artisan Bread Baker, introduced us to the spent grain program, where Whole Foods utilizes used grains from the beer brewing process to make breads. We learned that on farms, spent grain often becomes chicken feed or compost, but in urban environments, it is usually thrown out. Todd picks up spent grains from The BottleHouse Brewing Company once a week, and puts them to tasty use in Whole Foods breads.

We enjoyed a spent grain roll with house-made roasted garlic and chive butter. The bread, hearty and chewy, is reminiscent of sourdough and pretzels in texture. Flavor is excellent and it is lower carb because the spent grains no longer contain sugar.

Todd told us that every beer imparts a unique flavor to the process. Next week he will be getting grains from a smoked stout which he expects to have a smoky effect on the breads. He also announced an exciting new partnership with Platform Beer Co. where they will being producing grains from their own beer. They’re having a lunch party on August 11, 2016 for Veloracer, a grapefruit shandy. See below for additional details on this event.

Our next course featured Whole Foods' house-made Cold Pressed Juices, presented by Bruce Miles, Produce Team Leader. Beeternal (Carrots Apple Beets Kale) and Lemon Zip (Lemon Grape Jalapeño Ginger) are both excellent for cleansing. Several of us noted that Lemon Zip would be awesome with a little vodka for a “zippy” cocktail. (Cleanse and then add the toxins right back in, hmmm!) Greens with Envy (Pear Kale Cucumber Pineapple Spinach Broccoli Parsley Lemon), rich in anti-oxidants is their most popular seller. Strawberry H2O (Strawberries Watermelon Lime) is simply refreshing and sweet.

Bruce stressed that cold pressing compresses the produce and keep nutrients in tact. There is no oxidization which happens in traditional juicers. He ever-so-nicely sent some of us home with our favorite juice of the evening. (That Lemon Zip cocktail may just happen!)

The juice tasting was accompanied with a delicious, crispy Superfood Croquette, created using the Beeternal juice pulp and black beans, and a vegan sriracha aioli.

The main course, presented by Elliott Lewis, Seafood Team Member & Fish Monger, was Wild Caught Shrimp & Smoked Mozzarella Grits. Elliott explained that Whole Foods’ shrimp is sustainable, and more tender and sweet because it is flash frozen in its native salt water. He also shared that salt water fish is less susceptible to disease. Passionate about avoiding GMOs, he revealed a trend he is seeing with GMOs in the feed for farm-raised fish, whereby the fish itself deceptively does not have to be labeled GMO.

The team did a wonderful job adapting dishes as needed to vegetarian and dairy-free versions. Here, the cheesy grits were topped with grilled veg for the vegetarians.

Brad Packer, Specialty Team Member, presented a delightful cheese board to each of us, served with a glass of Kir Royale sparkling rosé.

The cheese board consisted of three fine cheeses: Testun Di Capra (raw goat’s milk cheese from Piemonte, Italy – sweet, nutty, assertive); Herve Mons Camembert (exclusive cow’s milk cheese from Normandy, France – earthy, pungent, salty); and Old Chatham Ewe’s Blue Cheese (sheep’s milk cheese from New York, USA). Lemon Pepper Marcona Almonds, Preserved Lemons, Strawberry Lavender Jam, and in-house Toasted Baguettes were the perfect complements.

He shared that Whole Foods has over 400 different cheeses on hand, including many local and seasonal varieties. They are happy to let you sample any cheese, or help you build an impressive cheese board.

The evening was filled with excellent food, drink and lively conversation between the knowledgeable Whole Foods team and the always inquisitive-about-every-detail Dames. Thank you to Whole Foods for hosting such a multi-faceted and interesting event!

Platform Beer / Whole Foods Launch Event

Platform Beer Co. is brewing Veloracer, a grapefruit shandy, to celebrate the efforts of the local non-profit and bike track, the Cleveland Velodrome. Veloracer will be introduced to the public at a launch party on August 11, 2016, 5-10 PM, at Platform. Whole Foods Market will offer a BBQ plate with spent grain bread at the event.

Then, the brew will be available in 6-packs ONLY at Whole Foods Market Cleveland (Cedar Center, Chagrin & Rocky River) for a limited time beginning August 15, 2016. $1 per 6-pack sold will be donated to the Cleveland Velodrome.