Today is the official start of Summer. Our friend Chef Ken Durbin, owner and founder of The At Home Chef says this is the best time of year to source the freshest ingredients, so he offers insight into the best Summer-fresh foods as well as his favorite local farms to find them.
"Summertime is the best time of year for most vegetables, fruits and herbs," says Durbin. "We're really lucky here in the Midwest to have so many local farms around to get them."
Known for sourcing from local farms, markets and shops, The At Home Chef creates one-of-kind in-home dining experiences across Greater Cincinnati - from dinner parties to date nights - making memories that last a lifetime. Click here for a list of Durbin's favorite Summertime staples and local farms.
If he had to pick one, Durbin says his all-time favorite Summer-fresh ingredient is tomato. "Nothing says Summer like a fresh-off-the-vine tomato, and you can prepare tomatoes in so many creative ways," Durbin adds, sharing a new recipe for a tomato tartar dish (check out the video above for recipe details).
"One of the things I love most about what I do is that I get the freshest ingredients almost exclusively in a 30-minute radius of Cincinnati," says Durbin. "I've developed relationships with a these incredible farmers and specialty purveyors, who are just a wealth of knowledge," Durbin says. "They tell me what came in well that season, how weather affected flavors, and things like that. I can even cut the lettuce I want to use for tomorrow's dinner. It's fun for me, and much more flavorful for the client."
Not only does The At Home Chef do all the menu prep, ingredient sourcing from local farms and businesses - and, of course, the cooking - but they also take care of everything else, like serving your guests, clearing the table, cleaning the kitchen and taking out the trash (it's a pretty sweet experience - click here to see our recent review).
"All you have to do is set your table and we’ll do the rest, including expertly cleaning your kitchen when we leave," says Durbin. "If you use your china, we clean it, polish it, and put it away. We take the garbage out and everything. It's like we were never there, the only things that remain after your dinner party are the memories made."
Durbin's motto - personally and professionally - has always been "Enjoy Life." After the past couple years, that's become more important than ever. "After not getting to be around people we care about, I have an even greater appreciation for the fact that we allow people to just enjoy life and the ones they're with. For one night, that's all they need to do, and we take care of the rest."