Celebrity Chef Perspective: Jimmy Reale, Carolina Inn
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
On Sunday, April 18th we will host a Celebrity Chef Charity Event featuring several Triangle Chefs demonstrating their favorite recipes using locally and healthfully grown foods in each of our model homes. Today we are talking with Chef Jimmy Reale of the landmark Carolina Inn:
Q: Tell us a bit about what it’s like to be the chef at The Carolina Inn…
A: It is very challenging but at the same time very rewarding. The Inn is a very busy place and personally I love the fast pace. I’ve been working at The Carolina Inn and our sister property for the past twelve years and absolutely love what I do.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a chef
A: I have always enjoyed cooking; growing up in an Italian and Lebanese family. My mom is one of the best cooks you’ll ever meet. She definitely influenced me to become a chef.
Q: Where did you start your career as a full-time chef
A: My first cooking job was making pizza and calzones at Sbarro’s. My first Sous Chef job was at Trio Café in Fayetteville NC.
Q: Why is it important to you to use local ingredients
A: Not only am I supporting the local farmers but I am also using a far more superior product. The shelf life is longer and the flavors speak for themselves.
Q: What is the most popular dish served in your restaurant that is made from local or organic ingredients
A: We change our menus often but one that stands out is…..Roasted Farmers Market Tomato Soup with Local Arugula Pesto Crostini.
Q: What is your favorite thing/ingredient to buy local and where do you get it
A: During the summer my favorite thing to buy is local tomatoes. I purchase a lot from the Carrboro Farmers Market. Some other farms I use in the restaurant just for tomatoes are Peregrine Farms, Lyon Farms, and Timberwood Organics.
Q: What can we expect to see from you at the Briar Chapel’s Earth Day Celebrity Chef Charity Event on April 18
A: We will be featuring local cheeses from Hillsborough Cheese Company. In particular Bloomin Sweet Ash (a semi-aged, bloom rind, ashed goat cheese); Betta Feta (traditional feta made with goat’s milk); Sophie’s Choice ( gouda-style cheese aged more than 60 days) ; Sun-dried tomato Chevre. I will be pairing these cheeses with local fruits and vegetables.
Q: What advice can you offer to Triangle residents who would like to incorporate more local produce, meats and poultry into their at-home cooking
A: Luckily we are in an area that is surrounded by wonderful farms producing everything from local cheese to heritage breed pork to amazing fresh vegetables. Go out and visit your local farmers market and taste the difference.
Q: As you may know, this is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In celebration of this day, can you share what things you do (beyond cooking with local ingredients) either in your restaurant or at home to “go green”
A: Here at the Carolina Inn we are involved in composting all food scraps we cannot use. All composted materials are then used locally. We are also involved in a program which recycles all of our cooking oil. The oil is converted into bio-diesel and also used locally.
Q: What charity will you be supporting through your participation in Briar Chapel’s Earth Day Celebrity Chef Charity Event
Thanks Chef Jimmy, we look forward to seeing you on Sunday, April 18th from 1-4pm. We will be accepting donations for the Breast Cancer Foundation in the Chatham Builder Guild model in honor of Chef Jimmy. To learn more about our Earth Day events, please visit our Earth Day Event landing page.
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