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Chef Justin Beckett of Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail is owed a bit of extra credit in our ongoing Summer Chef Series at the market. He was the one to offer up the idea of hosting local chefs at the market to demo farm fresh ingredients. His creative idea has now become the tastiest ticket in town on Saturday mornings at North Phoenix Baptist Church, this weekend being no exception.
Inspired from the menu at Citizen Public House, everyone was eager to taste his Grilled Peach and Romaine Salad with Chorizo Lardons, Mascarpone and Champagne Vinaigrette. He showed us how simple it is to grill peaches. When the heat caramelizes the flesh, it creates added sweetness and complexity to these already ultra-sweet and sunny peaches from TJ Farms.
Born in San Francisco and now an invaluable asset to the Phoenix dining scene, Chef Beckett is known for comfort food, elevated by classic culinary technique and an enduring passion for Southern cuisine. Why the food of the South? Beckett says, “It’s the food you want to eat, the food you crave.”
What are we craving now? His creamy, rich pimento cheese.
Chef Beckett explained to our marketeers that pimento cheese has helped him make friends with his neighbors. He is known to make up a huge batch and pack it in mason jars for gifts. Only thing we have to figure out now is where he lives!
His signature pimento cheese was served on top of hearty Noble Bread. For additional flair and texture he also added in McClendon’s Select vegetables. Our C-CAP students worked alongside Chef Beckett slicing asparagus and mixing it with corn and chicos. We all learned that chicos are a southwestern speciality, where corn is dried in the husks and then used in a wide variety of applications. Chicos impart a sweet and smoky note to dishes.
Many thanks to Chef Justin, Michelle Beckett and Katie Stephens from Southern Rail and Beckett’s table for supporting our market and being on hand today to get our marketeers exciting about Southern cooking. We’re looking forward to another wonderful local chef next week and continuing the ever-popular restaurant gift card raffles. The raffles are our way of extending a small bit of gratitude back to the restaurants who are volunteering their time to educate us all on how to use market ingredients in our own kitchens.