Celebrity chefs and gardeners teamed up on Oct. 17 for the season finale of the New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Garden exhibit to show visitors how to take their homegrown vegetables from the ground to their dinner plates – just like the pros.
Start small, and start easy, said Sonia Uyterhoeven, the gardener for public education at the New York Botanical Garden.
“Start with chili peppers, zucchini or tomatoes,” Uyterhoeven said. “Go to people’s gardens and learn what grows well in your neighborhood. Know the needs of the vegetables.”
The next step is learning how to cook them.
Todd English, the chef and owner of Olives Restaurant in Manhattan, taught audience members how to dress a side of risotto with paper-thin slices of beets, roasted in vinegar and wine.
“I call this my little treasure chest,” said English.
English used the risotto as a side dish for lamb chops.
“He’s a very amazing chef,” said Catherine O’Hara, an educator from Manhattan who had a front-row seat at English’s demonstration. “That was the most original, creative use of beets.”
Jennifer Rothman, 36, the associate vice president of children’s and public education at the New York Botanical Garden, coordinated over 200 cooking demonstrations since June, sometimes stepping in and doing demonstrations herself when chefs could not attend.
“I love the cooking demos,” Rothman said. “But tomorrow I have off, and I’m looking forward to that.”