When I saw that Slow Food South Jersey was having their Winter Feast I jumped at the chance to attend.  You don’t get many chances down here to be with like minded people who like and understand farm to table. However, when looking at the menu I saw “Beef Cheeks,” and I thought, well, mind over matter but I need to give it a try. So I signed us up and I needed to support my friend Marie LaDuca who is Co-Chair of this event.

Marie, like myself is a transplant, however she is from North Jersey, me Hudson Valley where the farm to table movement is strong! Marie was involved in Slow Food North Jersey and brought with her to South Jersey the school garden program of which proceeds of this dinner go to the program.

At this event, Marie and the Slow Food South Jersey announced their first grants of the Garden Program of $400 each to three schools: George L Hess Educational Complex in Mays Landing, West Cape May Elementary School, and Holly Heights Elementary School in Millville.

These schools needed to state a compelling argument on why they needed the money. It’s nice to say that West Cape May and the Hess School have garden programs in place so these funds will go to sustaining and improving hte programs.  Holly Heights will use these funds to start a garden.

They couldn’t have picked a better restaurant to have this event at.  I actually hosted a radio program with the Late Ed Hitzel and Luke Palladino a few years back.  Luke was great, a CIA graduate and that year his daughter had followed in his footsteps graduating in the CIA’s pastry program. Luke is a supporter of the slow foods and farm-to-table movement and you can see it in his restaurants.

The meal was outstanding.  Chef TJ Ricciardi prepared for us a wonderful meal.  What can I say about the beef cheeks.  They paired very well with the 2009 Goosecross Cabernet Franc. I think if you told me it was brisket I wouldn’t have thought so hard. They were slow roasted, melted in your mouth and very good! Everything was served family style and there were no beef cheeks left.