Grow Local Kitchen: Now Rolling & Enrolling!

When you visit the food court at the Nashville Farmers' Market, you will notice the shiny, roomy kitchen space that is home to the new Grow Local Kitchen. If you're excited by food, this place is for you. The last few months of the Grow Local Kitchen have come alive with cuisine-centered classes and demonstrations. The new director and Chef Laura Wilson, is brimming with event ideas for cooks from all avenues.

The GLK seeks to provide a community kitchen space devoted to our burgeoning local scene: farmers, products, chefs and a variety of skills to acquire. The idea is to promote local food through hands-on demos. All events are food-focused learning experiences. The classes include everything from learning knife skills to canning local produce. The kitchen has offered 6-course Provencal-inspired dinners and wine pairings. Classes are taught by local chefs and food enthusiasts. Farmers' Market regulars such as Chris Moran of Louisiana Seafood Company regularly shares his know-how about preparing seafood.

The beauty of this project is its accessibility to the public and the variety of events. The Nashville Farmers' Market is a place for everyone. The GLK hosts 'snap classes." This class demonstrates how a good meal can be made from market products purchased on a food-stamp budget. Food stamps are accepted at the Nashville Farmers' Market. Look for the monthly special, 'What's new in the market?' featuring preparation techniques for new market products.

Wilson, a chef familiar to many on the Nashville restaurant scene, is excited about the atmosphere of mentoring and learning about food. When seeking chefs to conduct new seminars, she doesn't simply assign food topics. Instead, she asks, "What do you want to teach? What are your interests?" Classes spring from each chef's individual expertise. "That's the spark I want to ignite in people." she enthuses. "The process is creative."

Wilson also envisions the GLK as a "business incubator" for new area food businesses. The cooking facility is licensed by the Department of Agriculture and the Metro Health Department, which means interested vendorsbakers, for example-can use the space to prepare their goods at the market where they sell them.

The Grow Local Kitchen is a special culinary hub for the community. There is a lot of full-flavored learning going on here! This is a place, says Wilson, "for everyone who eats."

For dates and information, check out the calendar at http://nashvillefarmersmarket.org/ .

Allison Fox is currently a part-time librarian and an all-the-time lover of cuisine. She lives in Cookeville, TN where she regularly cooks, eats, writes, and thinks about food. She publishes a food blog, Il faut goûter. http://needtotaste.wordpress.com .