Blog: Aren Stobby

Aren Stobby is a 19 year-old student in the Culinary Arts Program at Washtenaw Community College. He has studied under French Master Chef Jean Marc-Villard, owns a share in the Ann Arbor Community Farm and prepares meals for residents at Sunward Cohousing. This summer Aren became a locovore, commiting himself to a 100 mile diet. He will be writing about that experience.

Aren Stobby - Post 2

This past spring I traveled to France with a group of students and teachers from the Culinary Arts Department at The Washtenaw Community College. We stayed in the south of France, just to the west of Lyon, in the Côte Roannaise region. The terrain in the region has an abundance of large sloping hills and rivers-- including the majestic Rhine River. This area is ideal for the growing of grapes for wine, mostly the varietal Gamay, and for the growing of fresh produce. We stayed at a château named: Ecole Des Trois Ponts, or The School of the Three Bridges. At the château, we trained with Chef Jean-Marc Villard – a Certified Master Chef.

During our Culinary Arts training sessions, Chef Villard brought in the freshest ingredients from local markets. I was absolutely mesmerized by how much better the food tasted. I vividly remember tasting a piece of parsley that was the most beautiful, deep-toned, green color, and had a shockingly, pure flavor. The quality of the ingredients distinctly impacted the dishes that we prepared with Chef Villard. I discovered that even the average French person is knowledgeable about  the food that surrounds them. The fantastic flavor directly relates to the appreciation and respect that the French people display for their food.

As I continue my exploration with food, my goal is to help foster the same appreciation and respect that I observed in France. I believe a better food culture is appearing. Here in Ann Arbor we are surrounded by amazing businesses and organizations that are encouraging people to support locally produced products. The recent surge of locally produced food is a giant step forward in improving the culture that surrounds our food. For the consumer, an improved food culture is creating a better understanding of the relationships among the farmers, businesses, and the economy.  I believe more informed consumers will be more conscious of their buying decisions and will act upon them.
Here is a recipe that uses ingredients that can be obtained easily within 100 miles.

Pommes de Terre Roties par Pistou -- Roasted Potatoes with Pesto

-2 lbs of locally grown potatoes, sliced into rounds
-1 lb onions, sliced
-3 cloves garlic
-2 cups basil
-Salt and pepper to taste
-6 oz butter, melted, preferably from Calder Dairy

1)preheat oven to 400 °
2) In a food processor combine basil, butter, garlic, salt and pepper until a thick paste forms.
3) Spread sliced potatoes on a sheet tray and place in oven and cook, flipping occasionally, until brown.
4) Spread pesto over potatoes and return to the oven for 5 minutes.