Join the Cooking Caravan for creative culinary experiences at GCPL this summer! The Caravan is a group of chefs, artists, actors, and musicians devoted to enriching health and feeding artistic hunger.
I had the chance to discuss some of the culinary programs with the Caravan’s Artistic Director John.
GCPL is excited to host a number of your Chef Battle programs! What’s the most fun part - for Caravan staff and the audience alike - of these performances and why?
First of all, we are excited to perform our Chef Battles at several Greene County community libraries this summer! The most exciting part of our Chef Battle is that we have no idea what the outcome will be. We show up with ingredients, tools, and chefs. Zero recipes, zero concepts. A few audience members are picked as sous chefs and we make something up. There's so much fun to be had when making things up as you go along.
On your website, your mission states you feel it’s your duty to inspire and illuminate the minds of tomorrow; what is the overall message you wish you wish kids & teens to take away from a Cooking Caravan performance?
"What's in the fridge is what's for dinner?" We advocate to work with what you have. Whether it's ingredients or instruments, our job is to give our participants an experience that challenges them and inspires them to continue creating. There's also a more practical application, though. Cooking is a basic skill that every human needs to know and explore at some level. If we can open your mind to even one new ingredient, our mission is accomplished.
What should our patrons expect from your Chef Battle experiences? What should they know going in?
They should expect a healthy amount of braggadocio and shenanigans. Our environment is stripped down, but the personalities are BIG. Our chefs' main skill is their ability to unlock the ideas of their sous chefs. The sous chefs ultimately decide what to do with the ingredients, and the chefs are there to teach the fundamentals, handle any complicated or dangerous skills, and guide the experience. There is also an announcer that keeps the most important member of the team engaged: the audience (who are also the judges)!
Anything else you wish to share with our patrons?
Our Chef Battle produces bite-sized portions for the audience to sample and judge. One chef/sous chef team will walk away victorious, but everyone will walk away entertained. We only use whole produce, seeds, oils, herbs, and spices, and sometimes grains. There is never any meat, nuts, or dairy in the ingredients. There aren't any heated elements in the battle; it's just raw food, simple techniques, plating, and presentation. We can't wait to see you all this summer!
Don’t miss the Cooking Caravan at these GCPL Community Libraries:
June 27 – Fairborn
June 28 – Yellow Springs & Xenia
July 12 – Beavercreek