Autumn has arrived. Time to break out a whole new wardrobe. Time to save a few bucks because the AC won’t be cranked so high. Time for football, woodsmoke, Dia de Los Muertos and a rearranging of the television landscape. The days get shorter. We fall back. We can wear wonderfully forgiving baggy sweaters to hide the imminent winter paunch. At the Chefs Center of California, a shared kitchen for rent where food based businesses can start and grow, food-based businesses are launching their all-new autumn menus and enjoying the calm before the busy holiday season.
Many of them are gearing up for the annual, fall rite, Artisanal L.A. on the 12th and 13th of October. For those of you on the fence, there is still time to bring your worthy-of-selling- as-a-Christmas-present-recipe to the Chefs Center and parlay it into self employment. Check out the “getting started” page here.
Up until the sixteenth century, autumn was known simply as Harvest. It is still the time of year for reaping the fruits of summer labors. Approximately two hundred million cartons of apples alone are harvested every autumn in the United States. Autumn is a close second behind summer in the race for best food season. The list of produce that is in season in fall is seemingly endless: apples, artichokes, arugula, Belgian endive, chard, fennel, figs, leeks, parsnips, pears, pomegranates, turnips are just the beginning. And who doesn’t think of squash and pumpkin? Don’t forget venison. September is the traditional start to hunting season. My friends in Wyoming already filled their elk tags and if I am lucky enough to fit in a visit, I can look forward to some thick, lean elk steaks.
Fall is a time to eat, to fortify oneself against the oncoming cold. Okay, so maybe here in SoCal we cannot use that excuse to gorge ourselves, but it does get a bit cold and damp in Los Angeles come late October. Cold enough to think a lot about food, anyway. Let’s face it: no matter where we live and no matter what is constantly available in this global economy, we are hard wired to pack on winter weight. And the beginning of this process is autumn.
In addition to the countless harvest festivals and corn mazes of fall, there’s Oktoberfest. The original Oktoberfest happened in 1810 as a big party thrown by King Ludwig I. The marzen beer and the brats are synonymous with crisp Bavarian air and falling leaves. Oktoberfest is a perfect segue to cover some of the fall offerings, professional and sentimental, from Chef Centerers.
Camille Renk, Proprietor, Camille’s Kitchen
Fresh from feeding Sir Paul McCartney on Jimmey Kimmel, Camille’s Kitchen is fixing up a fall Schwabisch food menu for Silverlake Wines on October 13th. Swabia is a region in southwestern Germany .It is home to wonderfully hearty recipes (spatzle is definitely a soul food) that are a perfect kick off to fall. Check out Renk’s website or Silverlake Wines for details.
Juan Jose Ubillus, baker for Lisa and Mo
When Juan is not making killer gluten free cupcakes and other baked goods for Lisa and Mo, he’s fortifying himself for fall with pot roast. Juan’s pot roast, is not thrown covered in the oven but simmered slowly on the range top. Throw in some carrots, garlic, onion and maybe a few turnips. In Juan Jose’s native Peru, pot roast or Asado is simmered in tomato sauce and served with white rice.
Stefan Niemcyzk, Proprietor, Elite Eats
Elite Eats has rolled out a fall menu that includes squash and chicken sausage quiche. The proprietor of Elite Eats grew up in Pennsylvania and remembers his father making butternut squash soup topped with a few fried pepitas. Niemcyzk’s father is not a chef himself, but just a “really good cook” and still makes his soup every Thanksgiving.
Larry Bressler, General Manger of the Chefs Center of California
When asked, Bressler barely hesitated and offered the classic persimmon and fennel salad. Bressler first had this salad in Napa around 1987. This versatile salad can go with fish, it can be embellished with Stilton or bleu cheese or coriander seed and is said to be the “taste of fall”.
Enjoy fall in Southern California. Before you know it, those bone chilling 60 degree days will be upon us.