Many people have heard the term “farm-to-table,” but Amy Kushnir and Chef Garth Blackburn are doing something a bit different — they’re bringing the table to the farm and are inviting the public to purchase tickets for their Uptown Farmhouse dinner event starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, at Gilbert Pecan Farm in Santo (156 Patterson Lane).
With a passion for Texas and food, Kushnir and Blackburn started the company Uptown Farmhouse and are also stars of the cooking show Taste Texas that airs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
“We have been on since June 2014 and what we do on the show is go to farms and ranches throughout the state, visit them and get their story,” Kushnir said. “We wanted to learn more about the people who are growing the food here and then we decided to go even further and create Uptown Farmhouse, which is basically our combination of the city with the country. So we bring all the things we love about Dallas and Fort Worth to the country where all the farming is happening and we put it on the table bringing everyone together to eat.”
Tickets will be $100 per person (limited seating) and the event will feature a three-course menu that includes spring veggie soup with jumbo lump crab, goat cheese mousse and garlic pecans; 10-hour boneless lean short ribs with jalapeno-pecan pesto and limey latin rice; and Texas sized German chocolate cake balls with a toasted coconut rub. There may also be some bonus goodies thrown in the mix.
Kushnir became interested in cooking from her grandmother and mother at the age of 19 and has since published a cookbook, been on her television show, had a website and is now hosting these farm dinner events.
“For me there is such a thrill about bringing people together to experience something that is completely unique,” she said. “We’re bringing incredible food to a farm on a table and complete strangers are sitting together and developing friendships within two hours at this farm. For me it’s exhilarating because I feel like I’m an instrument in doing something great for my community and I’m helping bring people together.”
Chef Garth Blackburn was a member of the U.S. National Cycling team and traveled all over the world experiencing cuisine from about 30 different countries, which is where his love of food began.
Retiring from cycling, Blackburn took to the kitchen and began his culinary career attending Ai Culinary Institute while working at Zula in Houston.
Blackburn has also been a private chef for NBA players, CEOs and politicians and taught cooking at Sub Zero and Wolf Showroom in Houston.
“Amy and I started filming our television show about two and a half years ago and it became an opportunity to promote some of these farmers,” Blackburn said. “We really focus on buying from farmers and ranchers that we know and care about and are family-owned and operated.”
Now Blackburn and Kushnir are making it their mission to hold these dinner gatherings on the farms and ranches they’ve featured.
“From small production to large, we’re using their ingredients to connect people and I am absolutely on board with (Amy’s) vision of gathering people together,” Blackburn said. “Our last farm dinner was exceptional.”
Tickets for the event must be purchased in advance by emailing Kushnir at email@example.com.