Take a look at any city where there is a high appreciation of food and wine and you'll find some common elements: access to great ingredients, diners with curious palates, risk-taking chefs, and places to learn and experiment. Believe it or not but Syracuse has all of those things. The Syracuse Community Test Kitchen is the special place where all of these come together.
Since its opening in March 2008 the Test Kitchen, located in the South Side Innovation Center, has been an incubator for entrepreneurial cooks looking to take their favorite home recipe to the big time of retail sales. More recently, it seems, its mission has expanded to get as many people in the doors to learn, experiment, and get access to the great food resources of Central New York.
First, there are the cooking classes. Abigail Henson, a sous chef at the Restaurant at Elderberry Pond in Auburn (and writer for Edible Finger Lakes magazine's Syracuse section) is on tap to teach a class Thursday night featuring healthy recipes made with whole grains and seasonal vegetables.
Her menu includes Quinoa Swiss Chard Casserole, Cilantro Pesto Potato Salad, Zippy Greens with Horseradish Dressing and the "Not so Deviled Egg". How great is that? Well, what's great is that she'll be teaching to a capacity crowd and that there are 32 more classes featuring 11 chefs slated for late summer/fall.
Second, the Test Kitchen is the latest pick up spot for CNY Bounty. In fact, it is the only pick up spot in the city of Syracuse at this time. CNY Bounty brings some of the best dairy, baked goods, meats, and prepared foods straight to you. Several years ago I remember having to drive all around the region to get some of these products. Now all you have to do is place your order and pick up your haul. Place your order by Monday the 21st and you can pick it up at the Test Kitchen on Thursday the 24th.
This is all such great progress. I began this blog over 5 years ago and am constantly amazed at how much growth there has been in that time. The Test Kitchen is just one more critical piece of the puzzle of what it will take to transform and strengthen our food scene. Sign up for a class, pick up your Bounty, download a recipe from previous classes, and check out the cool things that are going on there. And Believe.
Syracuse Test Kitchen, 2610 S. Salina Street Syracuse, NY 13205 (Salina at Brighton--next door to the Dunk and Bright showroom)