Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the media preview event before the grand opening of the Cookery’s new Front Room.
The Cookery, as you may recall from when I attended their open house last year, is an incubator for small food producers, providing kitchen use for folks selling all sorts of food products, whether food truck owners or purveyors of canned items for local specialty stores and restaurants. The Front Room is an event space that will “host a series of pop-up restaurants, specialty food events, Culinary Workshops, and wine and beer dinners, as well as private dinners and receptions. The space accommodates up to 200 people, and includes a mezzanine and outdoor patio, a full bar with local NC beers on tap and audio/visual equipment. In addition, the Front Room’s access to the Cookery’s kitchen facility will equip chefs and caterers with a commercial kitchen and bakery facility to expand upon their culinary repertoire to design unprecedented events” per the Cookery’s press release.
Let me tell you folks, it’s a gorgeous space. Or better yet, let me show you:
What made this a media preview, however, was the chance to try samples from a number of local food vendors. On hand was the Apex Salsa Company —
– which makes a wonderful, piquant salsa and also peddles a Thai peach version that I know I must try out soon.
There was also the Blakemere Company with delicious, simple scones with clotted crème and homemade preserves —
– and the GluteyTooty bakers, who offered up cream puffs with a coffee glaze and carrot cupcakes, both of which were delicious.
My favorite discovery was Big Spoon Roasters, however.
I’d heard of them before, as they’ve been featured in Bon Appetit, and they are presently in the running for Martha Stewart Living’s American Made Awards, but I hadn’t ever tried their peanut butters. Oh my, they are amazing. They are creamy and chockfull of pureed bits of nut, so they aren’t crunchy, but they aren’t smooth, either. It’s a blissful middle ground instead. The flavor is delicious, and I really enjoyed both the peanut cocoa and the peanut pecan. I wish I’d tried them all!
We also tasted the wines that will be available for the Cookery’s events. They’ve been picked out by Mary Margaret McCamic, owner of the Clever Vine wine consulting business, and she made some excellent choices.
Once we’d had our fill of checking out the gorgeous new space, the sausages made by local celebrity Frank Stasio and donated by Farmhand Foods and the vegan sausages crafted by Rue Cler’s Aaron Benjamin were beginning to be served, but we did not check them out.
We also got a sneak sound-check peek of Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes, who were the musical entertainment for the rest of the afternoon. They sounded wonderful, and I’m sure they were amazing during their set later on.
The grand opening served as a fundraiser for a new kitchen for the Durham Crisis Response Center with donations, sausage sales, and 25% of the food trucks’ proceeds going to the cause, which is wonderful. Thank you for the invitation, the Cookery, and I can’t wait to try out a pop-up restaurant or wine dinner night when you get them rolling!
Posted: Friday, September 21st, 2012 @ 2:47 pm
Tags: apex salsa, bar, big spoon roasters, blakemere company, clever vine, cookery, durham, durham crisis response center, event center, farmhand foods sausage, food trucks, glutey tooty, grand opening, justin robinson mary annettes, local food producers, pop up restaurant.
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