Scenes from the Sitka Kitch’s Cooking Around The World series class Cajun Cooking With Geof Goudeau

Students learned how to make a chicken and smoked sausage gumbo and Goudeau’s Good Grits during the Cajun Cooking with Geof Goudeau class, held Monday, Nov. 26, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. This was the first class in the new Sitka Kitch space (inside Sitka Lutheran Church, 224 Lincoln Street, use back entrance through alley by Bev’s Flowers & Gifts, off Harbor Drive), and the class was part of the Cooking Around The World series of classes.

In the class, Geof gave students of Cajun and creole cooking. He also taught students the importance of the roux, which is the base for the gumbo. He also led students in making grits, which is a staple of Southern cooking.

Chef François Sanchez of St. Charles, Ill., will teach the next Sitka Kitch class in the Cooking Around The World series. Chef Sanchez will teach students how to make zarzuela (or zarzuela de pescado), which is a stew that combines finfish and shellfish, from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. This class will be taught demonstration-style, which means we can have a larger number of students than usual. The cost is $40 all-inclusive (we no longer have a separate class registration fee and food/supply fee).

Future Sitka Kitch classes include Preserving Leftovers and Holiday Gifts, from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, with Sarah Lewis of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Juneau District Office (taught by distance delivery) and Indian Cooking With Mohan Arul from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Watch our online registration page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title to register), for upcoming class details.

A slideshow featuring some scenes from Monday’s class on Cajun cooking is posted below.

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Sitka Kitch to offer Making Zarzuela With Chef François Sanchez class in Cooking Around The World series

Learn how to make zarzuela, a Spanish/Mediterranean fish stew, with Chef François Sanchez of St. Charles, Ill., at the next Cooking Around The World class at the Sitka Kitch. Zarzuela, or zarzuela de pescado, is a mixed finfish and shellfish stew (note to allergy sufferers) that brings out the best of Mediterranean cuisine. It is similar to French bouillabaisse or the Italian chopino.

This class takes place from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, now located at the Sitka Lutheran Church (224 Lincoln Street, use back entrance through alley by Bev’s Flowers & Gifts off Harbor Drive). This class will be taught demonstration style, which means we have more room than usual for students. He will have time after the class for a Q&A about French and Spanish food.

Chef Sanchez is the father of Sitka resident Claire Sanchez, and husband of baker Betsy Peterson Sanchez who taught three Baking With Betsy classes at the Sitka Kitch this summer.

Chef Sanchez completed two years of study at the Culinary School of the Moulin à Vent in Perpignan, France. He has a lifetime of culinary experience working for hotels in France and the U.S., including Hotel Sofitel and Hotel Nikko. François was the chef owner of a southern French-style restaurant, as well as several Spanish tapas restaurants for 16 years before working at a conference center as the executive chef in St. Charles.

Defining Culinary Experience: “I lived next door to a gourmet hotel restaurant in the south of France as a teenager and worked there during the weekends. That experience is what prompted me to choose a culinary career. I loved the intriguing aromas and the great level of energy in the kitchen. It had a profound impact on me from very early on.”

Culinary Philosophy: “If you can nurture passion, focus on your perseverance and keep an open mind to new culinary horizons – you will succeed.”

Favorite Style of Food: “I love to prepare classical regional cuisine (French or Spanish), which has natural, clean flavors and includes minimalist cooking steps to preserve the true integrity of the ingredients.”

Top Chef: “I admire Mr Paul Bocuse. Although in his 80s, he is still very much involved in the culinary scene.”

Proudest Career Moment: “When I was inducted into the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996.”

This is the second Sitka Kitch class at our new location at Sitka Lutheran Church. After that, our next class will be from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, when Sarah Lewis of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s Juneau District Office will teach Preserving Leftovers and Holiday Gifts by distance delivery (this is a five-hour class, because she will teach students how to can several products). AFS exchange student Mohan Arul will teach a class on Indian cooking from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Sitka Kitch.

The registration deadline for the zarzuela class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, so register now since space is limited. We need at least eight students to register and pre-pay to make this class happen. The class costs $40, which is part of our new all-inclusive fee system (you no longer have to pay a class fee to register, then a separate food/supply fee). You can register and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal on our EventSmart page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title). For those wanting to pre-pay with cash or check, please call Claire Sanchez or Clarice Johnson at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment. We do offer one potential scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, so long as we have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Claire at SCS for more details.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by Bev’s Flowers and Gifts). The door on the right should be open for students to enter. Please do not park in the church’s back parking lot. Please use the public parking lots off Harbor Drive.

The Sitka Kitch also has a new class cancelation policy. If you register for a class, then find out you can’t attend, please email us at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org and we may be able to help fill your slot through our waiting list. If you cancel from the class at least five days in advance (eg, by Wednesday for a Monday class), you are eligible for a partial refund of your class fee, minus $5 for processing (in this case, $35). If you need to cancel with less than five days advance notice, there is no refund.

Sitka Local Foods Network hosts second annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest

A sampling of current food products grown, manufactured or processed in Sitka

Do you think you have a great idea for a food business or product from Sitka? Do you grow food, fish for food, or cook food in Sitka? The Sitka Local Foods Network is hosting the second annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest in an effort to spark local food entrepreneurs so we can make more local food available to residents and visitors.

This contest will provide two $1,500 kicker prizes — one for established food businesses and one for start-up businesses (no older than two years) — to help entrepreneurs launch or expand their food businesses. The contest is open to food businesses and individuals making and selling food products in Sitka, Alaska. All food business ideas must be geared toward getting more locally grown, harvested and/or produced food into the Sitka marketplace through sales in grocery stores, the Sitka Food Co-Op, the Sitka Farmers Market, restaurants, or individual marketing (such as a community supported agriculture/CSA or community supported fisheries/CSF program).

“The Sitka Local Foods Network’s mission is to get more locally harvested and produced food into the diets of Southeast Alaskans,” said Charles Bingham, Sitka Local Foods Network board president. “For the past decade we’ve offered a entrepreneurs a chance to sell their produce, bread and fish at the Sitka Farmers Market, grown produce to sell at the market through St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and provided a garden education program to residents. We think this contest is the next step toward getting more local food into the Sitka marketplace.”

In 2018, we gave a $1,500 prize to Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals in the established business category. We had no entrants in the start-up business category, so no prize was awarded. Hope used her prize money to hire two interns to help her harvest seaweed and kelp and to help produce her products.

Participants in this contest are eligible and encouraged to enter other food business innovation contests, such as the Path To Prosperity or Symphony of Seafood contests. All participants retain the proprietary rights to their products and ideas. This contest is open to new and existing food businesses in Sitka. Student businesses (such as those fostered by Junior Achievement or similar programs) are welcome.

There is a small $25 entry fee for this contest. All participants (business and individual) must complete and submit our contest entry form by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 5, 2019 (by snail mail so it arrives before the deadline to Sitka Local Foods Network, Food Business Innovation Contest Entries, 408-D Marine Street, Sitka, Alaska, 99835, or by email with the Subject Line of “Food Business Innovation Contest Entries” to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com). Submitting a business plan (up to 20 pages) is recommended, but not required.

Our entry form will have room for you to describe your food business idea in a few paragraphs, but submitting a business plan will give you more room to outline your plans for funding and marketing the idea and will help your overall score. Judging will be based on how your food business idea provides new local food options in Sitka, how novel is your food business idea, how feasible is your food business (can it make a profit and be sustainable), and how professional is your presentation. At some time about the third week of April, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host a pitch presentation where judges will interview the contest entrants and try samples of the food products. Our judging panel will score your presentation and entry form based on how your idea has a measurable impact on providing local food in Sitka (25%), has the potential for commercialization (25%), provides new employment in Sitka (25%) and fills a need in the Sitka marketplace (25%).

If we find additional sponsors, we may add additional prizes and categories (such as fish or farm). Depending on the number of entries and interest of the participants, we may host a reception where contestants can demonstrate their products to Sitka residents. If the reception happens, there will be a chance for people to vote on their favorite products with the winner receiving the People’s Choice Award (this will be separate than the two main prizes selected by our judging panel). We are hoping to find a sponsor for the People’s Choice Award. Note, if our panel of judges determine there isn’t a worthy entrant in one or both categories, then the Sitka Local Foods Network reserves the right not to award a prize. Marijuana edibles are not eligible for the contest.

• Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest Entry Form 2019

Sitka Kitch offers Cajun Cooking With Geof Goudeau class in Cooking Around The World series

One of the dishes Geof Goudeau will teach is Cheesy Grits.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

After a brief hiatus, the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen is offering classes again, but at the temporary location of Sitka Lutheran Church (224 Lincoln Street). Our first Sitka Kitch class at the temporary location is in our Cooking Around The World series — Cajun Cooking With Geof Goudeau (direct link to registration page).

Geof Goudeau was born somewhere between the sugarcane fields and the muddy swamp waters of rural southern Louisiana. Word has it that he was rocked to sleep on the back of a pet alligator as a baby. But fortune has made it so that he found his way all the way to Sitka, Alaska. And now he wants to share with you a little bit of the knowledge he collected during his first 25 years of sweating over a cast-iron black pot of jambalaya.

Geof has seen his fair share of cooking education.  Through high school, college, and graduate school, Geof worked at restaurants with increasing culinary caliber, including regional favorites La Fonda Mexican Restaurant and Mad LuAnn’s southern food truck. Having not satiated his desire for cooking, Geof attended a three-month cooking school in San Francisco to truly sharpen and hone his cooking chops.

Geof Goudeau, with wife Ariane and daughter Elodie, operated the Goudeau’s Good-Doughs booth at the 2017 Sitka Farmers Markets.

Since then, Geof has called Sitka home where for the past four years, he has worked tirelessly to master those foods that demand your full attention, such as French macaroons, sourdough bread, and Latin flan. Desiring to share his newfound sourdough baking skills, Geof began a small-batch bakery: Goudeau’s Good-Doughs. He is now ready to pass on his love for Cajun food to you in the form a cooking class.

During Geof’s Cajun Kitch Course, he will masterfully guide you in the hidden, almost-lost art of making a Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, in all of its nutty velvet glory. But Geof isn’t solely interesting in passing on the secrets and wiles of his whisk regarding only gumbo. Oh no, my friends, Geof will capitalize on your intrigue by demonstrating his famous version of Cheesy Grits. Though many have apprehensions when it comes to grits, Geof’s good grits have seen no one regret daring to dine on his spoon. This course will provide you not only with the definitive way to make a body-warming gumbo and a can’t-wait-for cheesy grits, but you will also be treated to the history and lore surrounding these two iconic plates of Cajun cuisine, delivered in a way that only a true born Cajun can.

The registration deadline for this class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, so register now since space is limited. We need at least eight students to register and pre-pay to make this class happen. The class costs $40, which is part of our new all-inclusive fee system (you no longer have to pay a class fee to register, then a separate food/supply fee). You can register and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal on our EventSmart online registration page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title). For those wanting to pre-pay with cash or check, please call Claire or Clarise at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment. We do offer one potential scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, so long as we have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Claire at SCS for more details.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by Bev’s Flowers and Gifts). The door on the right should be open for students to enter. Please do not park in the church’s back parking lot. Please use the public parking lots off Harbor Drive.

The Sitka Kitch also has a new class cancelation policy. If you register for a class, then find out you can’t attend, please email us at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org and we may be able to help fill your slot through our waiting list. If you cancel from the class at least five days in advance (eg, by Wednesday for a Monday class), you are eligible for a partial refund of your class fee, minus $5 for processing (in this case, $35). If you need to cancel with less than five days advance notice, there is no refund.

Check out the November 2018 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the November 2018 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the upcoming Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in February in Sitka, the Sitka Local Foods Network’s #GivingTuesday fundraisers, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Check out the October 2018 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

 

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the October 2018 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the Sitka Health Summit, the Sitka Farmers Market earning top honors for Alaska in the annual Farmers Market Celebration, and an invitation to join our board of directors. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Like what we do? Please join our board of directors or volunteer with us

The 2017 Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener. Back row, from left, Tiffany Justice (treasurer), Ben Timby (secretary), Sam Pointer (director) and Charles Bingham (president/communications director). Front row, from left, Nina Vizcarrondo (co-secretary/farmers market manager), Laura Schmidt (lead gardener), Jennifer Carter (vice president).

Did you enjoy the fresh local veggies at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer? Did you take any of our garden education classes this spring? Are you concerned about increasing access to local food for all Sitka residents?

The Sitka Local Foods Network is holding an open house for potential board members and volunteers from 6-7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Sitka Public Library, Gus Adams Meeting Room. This is a good time to learn about what we’re doing and how you can help.

Please consider joining the board of directors for the Sitka Local Foods Network to help us pursue our mission to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. We need more board members in order to keep running our programs.

Board members help direct the Sitka Local Foods Network, a non-profit that promotes the harvest and use of local food in Sitka. In addition to setting the focus of the group during our monthly meetings, board members also serve on at least one committee supporting at our three main projects of the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and garden education and mentoring. We also hope to help with the Sitka Community Gardens project as we look for a new location now that Blatchley Community Garden has been closed. In addition, some board members have supported other local foods projects in Sitka, such as the Sitka Kitch, Let’s Grow Sitka, the Sick-A-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food Assessment project, Sitka Fish-To-Schools, other school education projects and more.

To apply for a spot on the board, please fill out the application linked below and submit it to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.org. For more information, please email us. Please note this is a working board, and our group is evolving and maturing as we try to raise funds to hire staff. Board terms are for three years, with three seats up for reapplication each winter.

We also are looking to increase our pool of volunteers who will help out during the various projects hosted by the network each year (no formal application needed, just send us your name/contact info and what types of projects you enjoy). We need volunteers to help with the upcoming Sitka Farmers Market, helping our lead gardener at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and helping us teach gardening classes or working with our garden mentor program families.

The next regular Sitka Local Foods Network board meeting is from 6-7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Sitka Public Library, Gus Adams Meeting Room. The board usually meets once every 4-6 weeks. Please note, we will sometimes move our meetings to avoid conflicts with board member schedules, venue schedules and to ensure a quorum. All of our board meetings are open to the public.

Click here for a copy of the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors job description. Click here for a copy of the board application.