Craig Cyr, executive chef of The Wine Cellar and Bistro, demonstrated how to cook four main dishes at the third annual Missouri Chestnut Roast on Saturday. The chef demonstration was a new addition to the chestnut roast, hosted at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center in New Franklin.
With the help of his two sous-chefs, Cyr made a mixed green salad, chestnut and goat cheese ravioli, roasted leg of lamb and chestnut pancakes with elderberry syrup in front of a crowd of nearly 100 people.
Cyr used products from mid-Missouri vendors in his recipes, including Chinese chestnuts, blue cheese and apples. During the salad demonstration, Cyr pointed out that the apples used in the recipe were Huffstutter apples, found in New Franklin.
Terri Rohlfing represented Huffstutter Orchards at the table next to the cooking stage. “The more red the apples are, the sweeter they are,” Rohlfing explained to one man passing through.
Rohlfing is a family friend of Rick and Pam Huffstutter, owners of Huffstutter Orchards. “I help out during apple season,” she said. The apples are sold locally and nationally. Huffstutter Orchard also hosts a “U-pick” every year, where people can pick out their own apples and pumpkins.
The goat cheese used in Cyr’s chestnut and goat cheese ravioli comes from Goatsbeard Farm. Jennifer and Ken Muno have owned the farm for 10 years and sell goat cheese at select stores in Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City. This is the second year they have participated in the chestnut roast.
“It’s a great way to see the countryside and experiment station,” Jennifer Muno said. Cyr uses their goat cheese often at The Wine Cellar and Bistro.
The MU Center for Agroforestry sold fresh chestnuts that Cyr used in his salad and ravioli.
Cyr explained ways to prepare chestnuts in cooking, including candying and roasting.
Patti Mestan of Lebanon, Mo., watched Cyr’s cooking demonstration with her husband.
After passing out samples of the mixed green salad, Mestan was impressed with the chestnuts and feta cheese.
“It’s very good,” she said. This was Mestan’s first chestnut roast. “We’re going to try to cover everything that’s going on,” she said.
Jerry Van Sambeek, a third-year volunteer, roasted chestnuts under a tent for people to sample. He explained that this year is an off year for Chinese chestnuts. “That’s why we ran out of fresh chestnuts,” he said.
The roast attracted more people this year than in the past. “We had 1,000 the first year and 3,000 last year,” Van Sambeek said. They were expecting 4,000 to attend Saturday.