FARMbloomington is a sentimental culinary
journey to my roots. After running away from
my inner Hoosier for 25 years in places such
as New York, France, England, Belgium
and the Caribbean, I’ve now settled back in
the place of my birth, Indiana. I brought with
me the knowledge and techniques from my
many years away and now incorporate them
with the ingredients of my home state. We
highlight local humanely raised proteins, and
vegetables and herbs from small farms. Many
of our ingredients are grown on my property.
FARMbloomington has the feeling of
Southern Indiana meets SoHo. Collections
of old farm tools, quilts and Odd Fellows
Masonic memorabilia meet modern Italian
lighting. Small succulent gardens and
chicken-wire candles decorate the tables,
along with mix-and-match utensils and
homegrown flower arrangements. An eclectic
collection, from Janis Joplin to Brigitte Bardot,
plays in the background. This time, I’m going
for fun dining over fine dining.
What kind of food is available?
I call it local food with global flavors.
Breakfast features local eggs from
Rhodes Family Farm in many guises, as
well as vegan quesadilla, fresh fruit with
spiced syrup, and homemade muffins and
scones. Lunch highlights my attraction
to sandwiches with seasonal ingredients.
The BLT is Capriole Farms goat cheese,
green basil and wasabi mayo, Mariah
bacon and avocado. Dinner changes daily,
with a small plates menu of 8-10 new
dishes from ingredients the staff find
locally or grow themselves. The evening
menu includes something for everyone:
snacks and stone-oven flatbreads, vegan
and vegetarian specialties, gourmet soups
and salads, regional meats and farmstand
produce. Our down-home/uptown sweets
and pastries include signature ice creams
and local fruits.
Sunday night is Sous Chef Sunday, when
I let my chefs create menus from all the
ingredients in the walk-in. A percentage
goes to a local culinary scholarship we call
the FARMfund. This way, each Tuesday, we
start with a clean slate and can create a new
list of specials from the freshest ingredients.
How have your travels affected the menus?
Traveling has always brought new
ingredients and techniques to my kitchen.
I believe the friendships one finds when
traveling have more impact than anything
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