I've had dinner with Alton Brown before, but this time, I discovered much more than I bargained for.
You've seen him on numerous programs on the Food Network. From Good Eats to Iron Chef, celebrity chef and best selling author, Alton Brown, is always cooking up something good. I had the pleasure of noshing with Mr. Brown.
We chatted at Table 52 in Chicago a few weeks ago with an educational talk about the history of Concord grapes, the American farming community, and nutritional benefits of this delicate, deep purple fruit.
Chicago icon and Iron Chef, Art Smith, created the culinary delight centered around antioxidant-rich Concord grapes. The history of the Concord grape goes back to Concord, Massachusetts developed by Ephraim Wales Bull. With over 22,000 seedling varieties that lead the now famous Welch’s Concord grape. Welch, a pastor, originally introduced the grape juice to his church instead of wine, but soon found that everyone craved the juice of the Gods.
As for Welch’s brand of grape juice products today, strict standards regarding harvest and production are within an eight day window. As a third generation farmer, Elizabeth Hamlettytka proudly shared with us the ordeals and opportunities of being a Welch’s grape farmer as well as the other crops she and her family grow.
A grape-inspired culinary experience started with cocktail hour and appetizers including boarding house biscuits with Benton’s ham and grape jelly as well as pickled shrimp with corn puree. The main course included lamb loin with wheatberry, fennel, marcona almonds and Concord grape gastique as well as Burton Farm Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes and braised collard greens with smoked turkey. Is your mouth watering yet?
Welch’s 100% Grape Juice provides the health benefits associated with many grape products including the polyphenols and resveratrol antioxidants and anti-inflammation properties. This makes it a good addition to your daily nutrition. Whether you’re adding a little grape jelly to a high fiber bagel or glass of grape juice to your lunch, you’ll love the taste and reap the benefits.
Alton Brown couldn't be more genuine and down to earth. He even took a moment to call my daughter, who claims she's one of his biggest fans.
Check out Art Smith, Alton Brown, and myself tasting the fried chicken that night... it was an additional menu item that Art is so famous for!
For more on my experience, check out Andrea Metcalf.