Supper puts whole grains in the spotlight

The Buffalo grits (front left) and red quinoa pilaf (front right) are two dishes in the new Mill section on Supper's menu. | Photo by Grace DickinsonIt’s raining grains at South Street’s farm-to-table restaurant, Supper. Chef Mitch Prensky recently added a new “Mill” section to the menu, bringing quinoa, barley and other whole grains to the center of the plate.

“I wanted options that would be healthier and different than your traditional Italian pasta,” says Chef Prensky who opened Supper back in 2007 with his wife, Jennifer. “This gives us an opportunity to work with those more marginal ingredients that people tend to only see in smaller amounts.”

The Mill section offers four different dishes, which will change as new produce comes in season. Most fruits and vegetables are sourced from the restaurant’s personal farm, Blue Elephant, located just 45 minutes outside Philadelphia in Newtown, Pa.

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Farm & Table: Three Philadelphia restaurateurs try their hands at farming

story by Liz Pacheco | photos by Neal Santos

Chef Jose Garces is in his outdoor kitchen making salmorejo—a cold Spanish soup similar to gazpacho. He adds bright yellow tomatoes to the food processor along with garlic, vinegar and baguette pieces. “A few years ago,” he says, “I would’ve made this with tomatoes from Mexico.” This afternoon, the tomatoes are from a very local source—Garces’ backyard, which doubles as a farm. This is the first full season for the 40-acre Luna Farm in Ottsville, which is named in honor of the Garces family dog as well as the brilliant nightscapes the property offers. The nearly 100 varieties of herbs and vegetables are organically grown for the Garces company restaurants—most specifically Philadelphia’s JG Domestic, which focuses on using local ingredients. But Garces isn’t the only, or first, Philadelphia chef to delve into farming. Mitch Prensky, owner and chef of Supper, is in his third year working with Blue Elephant Farm in Newtown Square, which grows solely for his restaurant and catering company. Last February, Andrea Rossi began cultivating in Orwigsburg on his farm, Grateful Acres. This spring, Rossi launched a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program through his restaurant C19. For these three chefs, the farms are creative challenges—they require money, planning, and of course, physical labor. At their restaurants, these chefs are no longer just cooking, they’re developing innovative models for combining the farm and the table.

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The Food Issue: Nature Preserve

Supper’s Mitch Prensky brings pickling into the modern era 
by Lee Stabert

Carrots with passion fruit, saffron and garlic with cauliflower, barigoule and artichokes, turnips with Herbes de Provence, spicy pickled vegetables for báhn mi, kosher dill pickles, okra with sage, preserved lemons and oranges, mushrooms, apples, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green beans and okra.

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