Market Chef : Kimi Reid of Slow Food Portland

October 9, 2012 |  by  |  Chef Demos

Meet Kimi Reid, the very adorable chef who will be representing Slow Food Portland at the Chef Demo table this week at the market! We were able to spend a little time with her this week, and here for your reading pleasure, is her take on everything from the importance of eating well to the health of the local food movement here in Portland. She’s a truly experienced woman, and a fantastic chef. Come see her this Sunday, and read even more about her at ChefKimiReid.com

Tell me a bit about what you do with Slow Food. What role does food play in your daily, professional life.

Slow Food has been a part of my professional and personal agenda for many years now. While spending time cooking in Europe, I had the chance to connect and buy from Slow Food Farms as well participate in the Slow Food International Cheese Festival. Here in Portland, I have been a participant in Slow Food events, and thoroughly enjoy writing articles as a way to share the vital information that is conveyed. Slow Food Portland is out there making great changes, and this needs to be shared. Food is my way of creating a healthy life for myself and others, and I do this by offering Personal Chef services to the greater Portland area. I also enjoy teaching cooking classes, cooking for wellness retreats, and even creating recipe plans. I specialize in ‘naturally gluten, dairy and soy-free’ cuisine.
I am launching a site called Real Recipe Plans at the end of October, which provides a weekly plan to cook 5 healthy meals, which are naturally gluten, dairy and soy-free. I am passionate about getting everyone back in the kitchen, where they have direct access to their own health.

What brought you to this work? Why is food so important to you?

Food has always been an important part of my life. After working on a farm in Colorado, cooking for start-up food businesses and testing my cooking skills in the kitchens of fly-fishing lodges, I eventually attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Miami. I then spent many years working as head chef on private yachts in worldwide locations as well as refining my skills at a few Michelin star restaurants including ‘The Fat Duck’ (ed. note : wowza!!) in England, and a few others in Australia. Travel has been a huge part of my culinary career, and this has allowed me to experience many different types of cuisines and has highlighted the importance of local ingredients and making strong connections with local farmers and their products. Also, while working with many different clients with various nutritional needs, I have come to appreciate food as the ultimate key to good health.

What are some of your earliest food memories? When did you first know that food would be so important in your life & what was the catalyst for your realization?

Some of my earliest food memories stem from growing up in the lowcountry of South Carolina. I always loved sitting outside underneath the mossy oak trees, and enjoying a lowcountry shrimp boil with family and friends, with a side of live bluegrass. Food is about community and atmosphere, and I really try to share that. I also have fond memories of roaming through my grandparents’ garden in Australia and being mesmerized by passionfruit vines, citrus trees and those beautiful curly sweet pea vines. Growing up with an Australian mom, there wasn’t a holiday that didn’t include a fluffly pavlova topped with fresh cream and kiwis. When I was 19, cooking at a fly-fishing lodge in Chile, I remember going into town to meet the local farmer. He took me into his greenhouse and pulled a humongous head of fresh bibb lettuce out of the ground (which was a first for me). This was a definite catalyst in my burgeoning food career and helped me to appreciate local products and the simplicity of good food.

What do you cook with you cook for your family/friends? What do you cook when you cook for just yourself?

Enjoying food with family and friends is a huge part of my life. We keep the food very simple and seasonal, leaving time to enjoy the presence of others. I really love making soups, grilled salmon with a finish of good salt, braised greens with roasted garlic, quinoa tagines, and healthier versions of southern cuisine. Brunch with friends would typically include bircher meusli with toasted coconut, fresh green smoothies, a seasonal vegetable frittata, fresh fruit and home-roasted coffee with almond milk. Cooking for myself usually involves the simplicity of a fried egg in coconut oil with roasted brussels sprouts, and lots of fresh green juice.

What are your hopes for the future of the food culture in this country? In Portland? What are we doing right, what needs to change?

I believe that the future of our food culture lies in the appreciation and support of local and home-grown cuisine. My work as a personal chef exposes me to the plethora of food allergies and nutritional deficiencies present in our country at this very moment. We need to eat more produce, end of story. Local produce, that is. Travel to other locations and it’s easy to come home and realize that Portland is on the cutting edge of the food revolution and we are so blessed to have such involvement and support for our local farmers. This makes it easy for us to participate in CSA’s, shop at farmers markets and buy from amazing local stores such as Salt, Fire and Time. There are positive changes happening at this very moment, and we need to be sure that they continue! This mantra is at the heart of Slow Food Portland, which is why we need continued support in our community.

If you don’t mind, would you share a recipe with us? 

Zucchini-Stuffed Zucchini

4 large zucchini
1 onion, cut into slivers
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrots, grated
1/4 cup Parmiggiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup chopped herbs on hand (basil, oregano, thyme)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

-Preheat oven to 375 F.

-Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, and scoop out the zucchini pulp with a
grapefruit spoon or a melon baller. It’s good to leave some body to the zucchini,
so don’t worry if you don’t scoop out every little bit. Set aside the zucchini ‘pulp.’

-On a baking sheet, place the halved zucchini, drizzle with a smidge of olive oil
and bake the empty zucchini ‘boats’ for 15 minutes or until just soft and remove
from oven.

-Meanwhile, in a medium sautee pan, add a nice glug of olive oil and sauté the
onions until just wilted. Now add the zucchini pulp, garlic, carrots and cook for
about 5 minutes until all is nice and soft.

-Remove from heat, season with S&P and stir in half of the Parmiggiano and all
of the chopped herbs! Lay out the zucchini ‘boats’ on a baking sheet and fill with
the cooked filling.

-Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmiggiano and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until the amazing smell permeates and the veggies are just on the verge of crispy. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and drizzle with another bit of your favorite olive oil.

Servings: 4 persons (2 Stuffed Zucchini/person)

Find more of Kimi at www.chefkimireid.com !


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