LAKE PLACID - During its inaugural year, the I Love Local Eats Cooking Series was well-done, but there's still plenty on the menu.
The last event of the year - the 11th one to date - took place on Wednesday, Dec. 12. The cooking series, a fundraising event for the Thomas Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid, started in February and has been a great success, according to the event's organizer Dmitry Feld, who also serves as the chairman of the board at the youth center. Each month, local chef gives a 30- to 45-minute cooking demonstration followed by food tasting and a Q&A session from the audience.
"Local chefs were eager to participate, and the Shipman Youth Center was able to unite them to showcase their talents," Feld told the News as he discussed the cooking series.
Kevin Gregg of Cafe Rustica gives a demonstration on making fresh pasta Nov. 7 at the Shipman Youth Center as part of the monthly I Love Local Eats Cooking Series as Paul Varga, radio personality at WSLP, looks on.
Photo/Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
He said the intention is to continue to get more local chefs involved, not only from Lake Placid, but the entire Tri-Lakes region. He said he already has chefs lined up to continue to cooking series into next year through March, and is in the process of filling up the entire year mainly due to the event's success.
"I want to sign up new chefs and highlight as many as possible," Feld told the News. "I am very proud to have highlighted 11 local chefs so far. We would like to get more, others who have not yet taken part."
Feld said chefs from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake, to Keene, Wilmington and AuSable Forks, are welcome to sign on as a guest chef.
He said all the chefs who gave cooking demonstrations during the event's first year said they had a positive experience and would return again if invited.
"They told me were extremely happy to be a part of it," he said, adding that the chefs and guests weren't the only ones who have enjoyed the cooking series. Youths who use the youth center were on hand each month to help serve food and clean tables.
"The children who attended were engaged with this type of event," Feld said, "It was something new for them and they were all eager and very happy to assist."
Feld said he appreciates the community support toward the event, which he said has raised about $4,000 to date. All proceeds from the cooking series benefit the youth center. He added that the event wasn't just attended by locals, but it was something visitors enjoyed as well. Feld said such attention allows people to learn more about the youth center and just what a valuable commodity it is.
"There were people who never came to the youth center before," he told the News. "It was good for them to see youth center, and enjoy tasting food from the local chefs. They all love it, and they all want more."
"We as a youth center benefit from chefs, and locals, coming into look at place, and everyone can see that the memory of Thomas Shipman is being carried on," Feld added. "It's a win, win situation."
But filling up next year and continuing a successful event isn't where Feld wants to end.
"I'd like to have the cooking series on live television," he said. "I'd like to have the event aired on a local TV channel. I think that would be cool, and it would take local chefs on another level.
Feld said he would also like to expand and have other cooking series.
"I'd like to have other potential cooking venues at the youth center," he said. One of the ideas is a pizza day.
Feld said he does not have the time to give personal invitations to all the chefs he'd like to, so he encourages requests to give a demonstration and ideas for future events.
He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 518-523-2071.
Desserts for each event have been provided by Cake Placid or Emma's Creamery and tea and coffee was provided by Hannaford's.
Upcoming cooking demonstrations
Next year's schedule so far is as follows:
Jan 16 : Tim Loomis of Liquids and Solids in Lake Placid
Feb. 13: Louis Iakovidis, Mikonos in Lake Placid.
March 13: Eri Cecunjanin, LaBella Restaurante in Saranac Lake.
The cost to attend is $15 per person. No RSVP is required. For more information, contact youth center director Jon Fremante by email at email@example.com or call 518-523-8786.