Chefs Collaborative RI Harvest BBQ is a Reunion for the Local Food Scene

Local restaurants presented their best fall dishes at the annual event held at Schartner Farm.

Chefs Collaborative RI Harvest BBQ at Schartner Farm.

Rhode Island’s best chefs and beverage folks came together on Sunday for the annual Chefs Collaborative Rhode Island Harvest BBQ. The casual outdoor event is held each year (usually on the first Sunday of October) near the picturesque pond at Schartner Farm in Exeter. Each restaurant and chef presented portions of one of their favorite fall dishes, and guests sampled all the tastings. It’s one of our favorite fall events, earning a 2016 Best of Rhode Island Award for Best Chef’s Celebration.

The money raised at the event benefits Chefs Collaborative, a national nonprofit network with a mission to inspire, educate and celebrate chefs and food professionals working toward building a better food system. This network “continues to drive the market for sustainable food by changing menus, changing lives and demonstrating the many merits of doing so for all eaters.”

The pond at Schartner Farm

This year’s event included Blackbird Farm pork and Maine beans from Nicks on Broadway; smoked brisket with Schartner Farm pepper relish and grilled onion from Tallulah’s Taqueria; Hopkins Southdowns Farm lamb and housemade Blackbird Farm pork kielbasa with lamb belly, beans and sauerkraut from Gracie’s; braised Baffoni Farm chicken with fingerling potatoes by Chez Pascal; Metacom Kitchen’s beet pocket bread with braised lamb neck, Moroccan spice, cauliflower and apple; duck cassoulet from Newport Restaurant Group; fire-roasted beef ribs with duckfat beignets from Brix at Newport Vineyards; and Sarto provided Blackbird Farm braised pork sugo with creamy polenta and gremolata.

Persimmon’s fluke ceviche with sweet potato and coconut milk puree and Bayberry Beer Hall’s seared scallops with broccolini and Calabrian pepper and smoked corn provided some seafood alongside New Rivers’ raw bar of oysters and shrimp.

Since fall is harvest season, some of the best items we tried involved vegetables. Eli’s Kitchen produced Thai-style Schartner Farm corn fritters, the Beehive Cafe served a vegan tofu dish with vegetables and the East End fried some amazing delicata squash.

And we can’t forget dessert. Ellie’s Bakery presented a table full of sweets including Halloween-inspired French macarons, spicy chai financier with plum and ginger and apple hand pies with honey bourbon glaze.

We also got to sample some of the best new beers including a pineapple sour from Proclamation Ale. Other participating breweries, wineries and distributors included Revival Brewing, Grey Sail Brewing, Foolproof, Narragansett Beer, Newport Vineyards and Taproot Brewing Co.Greenvale, Wine Wizards, Mad River Distillers and MS Walker, Westport Rivers and Wine Brothers, the Avery with Origin Beverage and Rhode Island Spirits.

Non-alcoholic beverages were provided by locally based Yacht Club Soda, Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea and New Harvest Coffee.

Live music at the barbecue was performed by bands Smith and Weeden and the Z-boys, plus a special appearance by the Kitchen Band (starring some of our favorite chefs and cooks) and a deejay set by Kyle McCarthy.

Though each of the dishes was just a taste, it made us want to revisit Rhode Island’s top restaurants to see what else they have in store for the fall season.

View a slide show of photos from the event.


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