A chef who patronizes farmers markets has become such a central component of so many restaurants' storylines that restaurant websites frequently include pictures of their chefs fawning over a local vendor's lettuce. Dalis Chea of Fresh Bistro wants his customers to know he's sincere about shopping, and has found a novel way of making his point.
For the restaurant's three upcoming pig roasts, Chea is inviting guests who see him at the West Seattle Farmers Market to issue an on-the-spot ingredient challenge. He'll incorporate the selected ingredient into a side dish for the night's meal.
"You definitely want to practice what you preach," Chea says.
In previous years, Chea has chosen cultural themes for his pig roasts, but decided to shift the focus to the farmers market. "There's such abundance this year," he says.
Even without nudging from devilish guests, Chea says he's gravitated toward uncommon ingredients at the market this season. "It's a lot easier to see produce, rather than reading off a produce sheet," says Chea, who admits he doesn't recognize every item he encounters. He recently bought and prepared baby bamboo shoots for the first time.
"If someone says cook something like that, we'll come up with a few things," Chea vows.
The next pig roast is Tuesday, with two more roasts scheduled for August. Chea says ticket sales have been brisk, but "we can always get a bigger pig."