The Visalia Farmers Market is excited to announce the return of our Fresh Kitchen cooking demonstrations at the Saturday Farmers Markets, and our new partnership with Kellie Black, the chef and owner of the local catering and food prep company “Mache”.
We’re very excited to introduce you to our new Fresh Kitchen resident chef and Community Corner instructor! Throughout the fall, stop by the Fresh Kitchen booth to learn how to make exciting in-season recipes, learn cooking tips and techniques, and discover a new world of eating fresh, local and healthy!
Can’t wait to meet Kellie this weekend at the market for her first demo? Check out this Q&A in the meantime!
Hello Kellie! We are very excited to have you join us as our resident Fresh Kitchen chef! Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in a farming family here in the valley. Along with growing up on a ranch, I was blessed to have grandparents that had a rich garden that I would eat fresh produce right off the vine. I am a mother of three daughters. I am a graduate of Fresno Pacific University with my Masters in business with an emphasis in globalization. I own my catering / food prep company “mache”. I attend the Nazarene church, support local non-profits such as Visalia rescue mission, Visalia emergency aid, and CASA. I enjoy pursuing physical activities such as running, hiking, cycling, etc. I enjoy traveling and love my time with friends and family.
What is your experience with food and cooking?
I have been cooking in some shape or form since I could reach the counter. I love everything about food… growing it, cooking it, and eating it. I love that it brings people together. I never have been one to follow recipes. I like to create. I also don’t typically measure. I give my food a little of this and a little of that.
This demo experience is challenging me to be more precise. Ten years ago I found out my daughters as well as myself had food intolerances. This made our whole world change. We no longer could eat out or eat processed foods. This was a blessing in disguise. I spent countless hours studying food and taught myself how to nourish the body while being on a limited diet. I can’t eat dairy, wheat, eggs, mustard, or sunflower seeds. Since this discovery, I have learned how to eat what I call “Old Testament”… from the ground. I am not a vegetarian but the bulk of my diet is vegetation and low glycemic grains. In this process I learned how organic local food tastes so much better and is more beneficial for our health.
I eat for nourishment because food is fuel. I can’t enjoy my pursuits if I don’t have overall health, and we are what we eat.
What is your favorite thing to cook and / or eat?
My favorite thing to cook is a turkey patty. This is mache’s biggest seller. Turkey doesn’t have to be served with dressing at thanksgiving. Served with some fresh organically grown sliced tomatoes… YUM!!
What are you looking forward to bringing to the Market over the coming year?
I am looking forward to demonstrating that less is more. So many cookbooks are filled with recipes that take hours to sift through because of the extensive list of ingredients. The biggest concept I hope to bring is that if a person chooses local they will have a robust amount of flavor in their food.
What is your favorite thing to look for or buy at the Farmers Market?
I really get excited to buy fresh herbs. I use them to flavor food. I never purchase seasonings. At home as well as with my food prep I use a lot of marjoram, flat leaf parsley, and cilantro. There is no comparison to how fresh herbs taste versus what one buys in a conventional grocery store.
Do you have any shopping tips for Market shoppers and home chefs?
Market shoppers: Biggest advice…get there as early as possible. Home chefs: Be creative. It’s ok to fail in the kitchen. The original Toll House recipe for chocolate chip cookies was a mistake. Ruth Wakefield was trying to make chocolate butter cookies and it flopped. She served it anyways and every child in this country thanks her for it.