year’s Frontera Farmer Foundation benefit was our most successful one
yet. We broke last year’s record by raising $132,000. That wouldn’t have
been possible without all the support that makes this event happen. It
starts with our amazing staff, both that day and the days leading up to
the event. This year our chefs outdid themselves with the dishes they
created to spotlight the products from each of the farmers that
participate in the market. We have to give a special thanks to those
farmers, not only for their product donations, but also for giving up a
day during one of their busiest seasons to attend the event and give our
guests the opportunity to connect one on one.
also like to thank our sponsors and all our friends for their generous
support of the foundation. Their contributions are what help make this
event so memorable. The funds we raised will be used for the 2012
capital investment grants.
And speaking of the grant program, we have added new information to the foundation section of the web site. Check out the
Meet the FFF Farmers section. There you’ll find a breakdown of the grants from
2004 through 2011. We’ve also added a brief overview of each farm broken down by state (
Wisconsin) so you'll know how to connect with these farmers. Lastly, you'll find the
2011 annual reports that highlight the farmers who have received grants in the last two years.
Meet our Team
Alferez - Managing Partner of Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO. Carlos
joined Frontera 14 years ago after he left his manager position with
Lettuce Entertain You. He went from manager to General Manager in less
than two years and then became managing partner 9 years ago.
What was your first restaurant job?
started with Lettuce as a dishwasher/busser, from there I moved into
the back waiter position, then sommelier and finally
What attracted you to join Frontera?
was interested in finding a small operation that was growing.
Several of my friends were working there and told me a lot of about the
place. It sounded like the type of restaurant that I was looking for.
What was your biggest challenge when you started?
to the staff, especially those people who had been there for a long
time, that I was up to the job of leading and that I could make positive
changes to the operation.
Has the growth of the organization changed your management style?
in the early days, it was definitely more one- on- one in terms of
managing. I've grown with the position as the organization has expanded.
I've matured as a manager and a leader and that experience has
prepared me to handle the challenges.
How would you sum up your management philosophy?
honest with your employees and communicate your expectations. You need
to maintain direct communication and direct feedback to make sure that
your staff knows what's expected of them and what areas need
improvement. I tell my managers that their roles as leaders are 49%
technical (ordering supplies, making schedules, etc) and 51% mental
(dealing with the personal issues of both the staff and our customers).
What's the favorite part of your job?
conflicts between different personalities that ultimately result in a
cohesive team, a team that will work together to meet our goals and make
the restaurants successful.
What was your most memorable meal?
would have to be the night in 2007 when we won the James Beard
Outstanding Restaurant Award and we had dinner at Balthazar. It was an
amazing high being with many of the people who made that honor possible.
Just sitting at the table and knowing that that meal represented
everything that we had worked so hard to achieve, I'll never forget it.
Even now, every time I'm in New York, I go back to Balthazar to relive
that memory - the perfect meal. I even request to sit in the same
section as we sat that night.
Recipes from Deb's Test Kitchen
first recipe this month resulted from an overnight stay with friends on
their farm. I offered to make breakfast and my version of the
Egg and Bacon Torta.
I have to tell you it's a new experience to use farm fresh eggs from
chickens that you've met. If you really want to taste the difference
between eggs that you buy at the farmers market and the grocery, this is
a great one to try.
Cazuela of Farmers Market Vegetables, Chicken and Tomatillos
is a quick and easy one dish dinner. The chicken and vegetables roast
in 30 minutes, stir in a jar of tomatillo salsa with a little crema and
top it with cheese. Pop it back in the oven until it's piping hot and
you have a delicious meal in under an hour.
been waiting months for strawberries to come into season so that I
could share this recipe with you. Last year, I came up with a
Chocolate Habanero Sauce and I've been waiting for this year's crop of strawberries to pair it with my
Strawberry Tequila Ice Cream. The ice cream is a sour cream base, so there's no cooking involved. Break out your ice cream machine and try this combination.
is my favorite travel cup. I found it at this year's Housewares Show
and fell in love with it. I can't tell you how many times I used to
spill my coffee trying to open a door and have it slosh all over my car
going over bumps. This cup is made by Contigo and comes in either a 16
or 20 ounce size. It's a double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel
mug with a patented 100% leak-proof lid. In the 16 ounce size, it comes
in black, blue, silver, green, red and purple. The 20 ounce version only
comes in a stainless finish. The lid automatically seals between sips
which keeps your beverages hot for 4 hours and cold up to 12 hours. Hand
wash the cup to protect the finish, the lid is dishwasher safe. The
West Loop model is available on
Amazon or directly from
Contigo. They also make a locking lid version (Aria) that will be available after August 15th.
out Patrick's winning recipe from the Frontera Farmer Foundation Recipe
Contest based on his local Denver, Colorado Farmers Market.
winning dish is perfect for brunch or as a light lunch. She created a
blender no-heat hollandaise sauce that features lime and avocado for her
version of Eggs Benedict.
Frontera / Topolobampo / XOCO will reopen on Thursday, July 7th. See you then.
See you next month.
Test Kitchen Director/Web Site Culinary Director
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