Apis Restaurant and Apiary of Austin, Texas, introduced weekly Farm Feature Dinners on Tuesday nights for the Spring with a special prix fixe menu.
The produce-driven dinners, which will kick-off on April 7th, will highlight neighboring farms with the goal of promoting local farmers as well as the health and environmental benefits of eating seasonally and sustainably. The menu will change weekly depending on the featured farm and will serve as a way to showcase the chefs’ creativity and for guests to taste the season.
The first Farm Feature Dinner will focus on seasonal offerings from Austin Montessori Adolescent Community at Gaines Creek Farm in Austin, Texas. Menu items will include Grilled Winter Greens and Soft Duck Egg, Slowly Cooked Pork Collar, and Roasted Beet Sorbet.
Guests can opt for wine pairings or order from the restaurants signature cocktail menu featuring honey harvested in the hives onsite. Starting at 7 p.m., the dinner is $35 per guest for three courses, and $50 per guest with wine pairings.
This collaboration is especially important to husband and wife team and owners Taylor and Casie Hall, whose children also attend a Montessori school, along with Austin Montessori School alumnus Chef de Cuisine Adam Brick.
Recently, the team started working with students to help them learn about business and agriculture, developing a long-range plan in which the students are planning, planting, and harvesting specifically for Apis based on the restaurant’s current menu and needs.
The money raised from the effort is then banked and managed by the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students helping them helm a fully functioning micro-economy. Beyond that Chef Brick is also working with the students to mentor them in the kitchen, while Chef Taylor is helping them to learn more about beekeeping at their apiary.
Chef Taylor credits Chef Brick with conceptualizing this program.
“It was all Adam’s idea to work with his alma mater, and I’m so excited because I was never exposed to anything like this in my education,” Chef Taylor says. “Working with these smart, driven kids is so inspiring and proves my belief that ‘slow food’ is authentic, not a trend, and not a gimmick.”
Students from the school will join the Apis team for the dinner to experience "restaurant life" through preparation and presentation of the food they worked hard to grow.
“The biggest gift the Apis team has given is treating our little garden like any other farm out there,” says Veronique Mareen, a teacher at Austin Montessori School. “It’s one way our community gets to step out into the wider world and it will have a big impact on these kids.”
Other farms Apis plans to showcase at upcoming Farmers Dinners include Animal Farm Cat in Spring, Texas; Solstice Farms in nearby Driftwood, Texas; and Oak Hill Farms in Poteet, Texas.