Three stories about three chefs for a summer’s day:
Chef Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Bar has been a busy man. The bar and its adjacent oyster farm have been serving up bushels of Raso’s namesake seafood.
Some have said that there are enough oysters under the water in places such as Potter’s Pond and Ninigret Pond to quite possibly feed everyone in New England. It appears Raso may put that old saw to the test, given that his sweet harvest is seemingly everywhere this second half of the season. Not only is his restaurant doing record business, but he is finding new venues to treat local foodies to his undersea delights.
At the end of July, the mollusks were the guests of honor at an elegant art exhibit opening and fundraiser in Jamestown. And in September, Matunuck Oyster Farm oysters will be on the menu at the Big E fair in West Springfield, Mass., which runs from Sept. 12-28.
Another kind of harvest is taking place at a few farms in the area as the harvest begins to come in at long last. The new executive chef at Restaurant Cav is taking to the fields. Chef David Ferda joined the eclectic Providence bistro at the beginning of the summer, having wrapped up a stint at Parkside Rotisserie. He has introduced some new items to Cav’s guests while learning the menu. Now he is reaching out to local farmers.
Ferda has been developing relationships with a few farmers as well as utilizing the services of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the buying service that many of the state’s chefs use. Ferda is planning visits to farms such as Confreda Farms in Cranston and D’Allesandro Farm in Warren.
On the other side of the equation, a Middletown farmer is looking for new markets for his produce. Jim Garman grows for Malt restaurant in Newport, but the chef there can’t take in any more. Farmer Garman is in search of an additional outlet for his heirloom vegetables grown with organic methods.