Veggielution, San Jose’s premier urban farm, is holding a benefit dinner Saturday, Sept. 11 at Eulipia. I got a chance to sample some of what consulting chef Joseph Gaudet will be cooking up for the event. Taking inspiration from Veggielution’s one-acre farm, he prepared the preview meal right on the farm with delicious results.
Gaudet uses fresh picked produce from the farm. In addition to lending his talents as chef for the dinner, he also teaches workshops for youth about cooking. It’s his philosophy that knowing where your food comes from makes the food taste better.
The inspiration for his menu is the bounty of the harvest and the flavors of the South and Asia. Those flavors are ginger, Asian spices and a farm chile sauce similar to Sriracha. Guadet’s first course is cured, pickled and preserved vegetables along with a tempura green tomato BLT made with locally sourced pork belly taking the place of bacon. Roasted corn, okra and tomato gumbo made with farm picked vegetables is the second course. The third course is Veggielution bo ssam-slow roasted pulled pork accompanied by roast squash, pickles, kimchi, dressed black eyed peas, farm chili sauce, and steamed rice. I enjoyed them all.
Along the rows of vegetables of okra, chile peppers from Michoacan, speckled, sweet watermelon and wide, open space you can’t help but notice the huge freeway overpass above the farm. While enjoying Gaudet’s food, I listened to the story of how Veggielution went from San Jose state student’s backyard farms to the beautiful open space at Emma Prusch Park. There is a resounding love and respect given to the crops they harvest here and it shows.
The fundraising dinner benefits Veggie Youth, a program in which local high school students spend time at the farm connecting with themselves, other students, their communities, and their food. Before sitting down at Eulipia, attendees will get a tour of Veggielution to see just where their food comes from.