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Chefs Come Out For the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market

Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager, and chef Brian Howard from Comme Ça..
Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager, and chef Brian Howard from Comme Ça..

[Photos: Susan Stapleton]

Las Vegas chefs have a new spot to pick up fresh produce to make their fare with the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market. Every Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., chefs can be spotted picking up fruits and vegetables to use in their dishes for the weekend. Chef Brian Howard from Comme Ça at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas let Eater Vegas tag along last Friday.

First up, farm-fresh eggs from Quail Hollow. Howard uses the eggs in his new corned beef and smoked beef tongue hash with a slow poached farm egg on his brunch menu. “When you see shit on the eggs, you know they’re good,” Howard says as he picks up a dozen.

Another vendor at Las Vegas Grown Produce talks about how chefs come out to his farm on North Torrey Pines Drive to taste the dirt. “It’s great to get produce that’s grown within 50 miles away in the desert,” Howard says.

Although many of these vendors stop by Cosmopolitan to sell their wares, Howard still stops by for extras that he might decide on at the last minute. At California Family Farms from the Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby — who hunts, sniffs, gathers and grows fresh and interesting produce from California's farms, markets, gardens and forests — Howard searches for ancho crest and milk thistle he can use with a sea bass he’s cooking up for the weekend.

Clasby and Cheryl MacPherson worked together to bring the market, which hopes to expand from 500 to 5,000 visitors,

Howard nibbles a bite snow pea here, a strawberry there, to see how fresh they are. Clasby shows him the globe artichokes and points out the strawberries, already at their peak of freshness. “Probably 90 percent of the people here don’t know what this stuff is, but the chefs know,” Clasby says.

Along the way, Howard bumps into fellow chefs. Anthony Meidenbauer, executive chef for Block 16 Hospitality, and Rene Lenger from Switch at Encore Las Vegas are just two who wander by. Outside, Jolene Mannina who puts together the Back of the House Brawl and Joshua Clark, her co-conspirator in the ChowDownTown, wander through the food trucks. On this Friday, Grouchy John’s Coffee, Rusty Pickle and Fuku Burger are on hand, while Bread & Butter has a stand set up with pastries and cakes and soon hopes to be inside with its own stand.

In front, chef Grant MacPherson, who is opening The Merrywell in Melbourne, Australia, April 18 with chef Sammy DeMarco from First Food & Bar at the Palazzo, is doing a cooking demonstration. He signs copies of his book In the Viking Kitchen and talks about he will soon have another self-published cookbook coming out.
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