Students, chefs going all-Utah for food at summit
The menu is as impressive as the smells wafting from kitchens at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
There's Berkshire pulled pork sliders from Ballard Farms in Cache Valley, seasoned with Snap Daddy's BBQ sauce. Colosimo's mini-sausage corn dogs featuring Miller honey mustard. How about Summit County beef carpaccio atop Sevillo bruschetta, or say, a cheese table heaped with breads, crackers, dry cured meats and deli appetizers.
The goodies are for a big crowd, the 1,200 people who will be attending the Governor's Economic Summit on Tuesday and munching on Utah foods that will be showcased to highlight the diversity and range of manufacturers and farmers in the state.
Hotel pastry sous chef Maren Arnell, for one, was stunned that all the menu items were grown or made in Utah because the recent Las Vegas transplant had no idea a desert state could produce such offerings.
On Monday, Arnell was helping culinary students from Murray and West High Schools prepare rolls and pastries all with Utah ingredients, such as Lehi Mills brownies with Mrs. Call's caramels and Redmond salt. Several other desserts include Utah truffles and Taffy Town treats, along with Howie's Root Beer and Gossner milk.
Even edible flowers, such as fuchsia and pansies that garnish dishes, are grown locally by Zoe Natural Gardens. The Layton farm also offers fruits, vegetables free-range chicken eggs, and grass-fed lamb and beef.
Seth Winterton, deputy director of Utah's Own, which promotes local foods, said that every dollar spent on local products has the effect of adding $4 to $6 to the Utah economy, "while reducing our carbon footprint."
"I didn't realize how many products actually come from Utah," said Dallon Stewart, a Murray High senior. "But I do know that when something is local, it's going to be much fresher."
Said Katie Crawford, a senior: "I'm proud that so many foods are from Utah."
Grand America Executive Chef Phillip Yates said the hotel routinely contracts with Utah companies and farmers to offer local foods. Menus are particularly popular with out-of-state conventions because people from other areas "want a taste of Utah."
Utah foods can compete with world-class offerings, he added, pointing to Gold Creek Farms, which won first place for its smoked hard cheese and smoked cheddar in the 2012 World Championship Cheese Competition. The family-owned business from Summit County makes cheese by hand with milk from Brown Swiss cows.
"To go up against heavy hitters and do so well is amazing," said Yates. "The number of excellent Utah cheeses also is amazing."
Governor's 6th Annual Economic Summit
Purpose • The event will explore economic issues, strategies and collaboration.
Tickets • The event at the Grand America hotel at 555 S. Main St. in Salt Lake City is sold out, but walk-ins will be accommodated via late-minute cancellations. Cost is $150.
When • Check-in begins at 7 a.m., presentations at 8 a.m.,breakout sessions at 9:30 a.m., lunch at noon and the governor's speech at 12:45 p.m.
For information • Call the Governor's Office of Economic Development at 801-538-8680. Utah's Own
Where • Food grown or manufactured in the state is available at Smith's Food & Drug Stores, Harmons Grocery Stores and Fresh Market, Macey's, Dan's, Dick's, and Lin's markets.
Who • A list of farms and companies offering locally grown or manufactured foods may be found at utahsown.utah.gov.