As I thought about this blog post, I reflected upon this summers classes, and noticed there were a lot of opportunities to learn more about the culinary world. There were 7 culinary experiences offered this summer and each one boasted a full roster of members. This tells me Bayside members love to cook (or enjoy expertly prepared delicious food). In these cooking and baking demonstrations, four different chefs, one nutritionist and one baker joined us, offering unique and varying recipes and perspectives on what cooking means to them. Despite the many differences, major similarities included “finding your own Chefdom*” and each chef and restaurant loves to support local. As a member pointed out, it is so exciting to see Chef’s actively supporting and collaborating with other local businesses, restaurants, and especially farms. This truly builds a community. Which led me to some thinking – we use the word “community” all the time, especially at the Welcome Center. So what is it and how is it actually defined?

Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

After holding many cooking demos since the start of Bayside Institute, and experiencing several this summer, it is evident that there is a strong culinary community in our area. I feel both excited and proud of this community when any particular chef mentions the corn on our plate is from our local farm, just miles from where we happen to be sitting or the greens in the salad we order at their restaurant come from the hydroponic farm less than 50 miles away in Salisbury, MD. There are so many hidden gems that bring delicious flavors to our plate – like the berry farm in Ocean View that provided the berries for Chef Ronnie’s delicious Triple Berry Trifle, the cantaloupe straight from the farm stand to whip up Chef Matt’s Spicy Cantaloupe Gazpacho, or even the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) offered by Magee Farms in both the summer and the fall.

It may go unnoticed, or perhaps you read the chalkboard of the local food sources at different restaurants, and think “well, that’s neat”. However, after hearing the thought, the collaboration, and the excitement about local foods from professional chefs, it begins to take on a greater meaning than “well, that’s neat” and at least for me, I can now understand that it is part of a greater culinary community supporting local farms, bringing the freshest ingredients, and putting the fruits of our farming neighbors to good use.