When Chef Eric Gephart, Director of Culinary Inspiration with Kamado Joe, comes to Wichita, you are guaranteed that the following things will happen:
- You will venture into restaurants and bars that you don’t regularly frequent.
- You will spark up a conversation with a stranger, and they will be your new best friend by within an hour.
- You will have fun. Too much fun. Just ask Chef Tom.
- You will hear fascinating stories about Eric’s time in the kitchen, travels, and working for Kamado Joe. Eric has spent time with some of the most influential chefs in the industry, including Anthony Bourdain.
- You will eat some of the best food that you’ve ever tasted made with the freshest ingredients that Chef Eric can find.
When Chef Eric visited a year ago, he met local farmer Jimmy Vo, and they became fast friends. On this most recent visit, Eric asked to go on a field-trip of Jimmy’s farm Kan-Grow Hydro Farm. There was one small catch. Eric was teaching four classes in three days, and our schedule was tight.
The classes at ATBBQ included two evenings of three-course menus paired with wine. Chef Eric, Chef Tom, and Chef Britt had planned to pull out all the stops to create an experience that wowed their guests. There was a lot to do. Slow smoke pastrami for 18 hours. Make 50 pie crusts. Fry 50 catfish on a Kamado Joe.
But another thing about Chef Eric is that he finds time to make big things happen.
The ATBBQ chefs prepped like madmen (and women) on a Friday morning so that they drive to South Wichita and take a farm tour before classes started.
The goal was to get as many ingredients from Jimmy’s farm so that they could elevate the dishes for the class. Have a lot of fun and eat fantastic food? That’s the Chef Eric way.
While at the farm, the chefs learned about celtuce — an ingredient that Jimmy is bringing to the area. The chefs agreed that this refreshing ingredient, basically a cross between celery and lettuce, would be a perfect garnish on top of the smoked pastrami.
After the farm tour, the chefs hurried back to the kitchen and unpacked their ingredients— radishes, microgreens, pea shoots & fennel. Within the hour, guests were arriving to the kitchen and sat down for a course dinner paired with wine.
It was a day to remember. And the food from that evening? Yeah, we’re still craving the slow-smoked pastrami with goose-fat potatoes.
Three-Course Menu following the tour:
- Cornmeal Cheddar Griddle Cake, BBQ Bacon Burnt Ends & Black Pepper Honey
- 18 Hour Smoked Pastrami, Goose Fat Cast-Iron potatoes, Kan-Grow Micro Greens
- Aunt Omma’s Apple Vinegar Moonshine Pie