The 7th Annual Killer Tomato Festival was held on July 19th, 2015 in Atlanta.
If you have toured a FreshPoint facility, you know we have different coolers with different temps throughout the building. Taking a walk through our tomato cooler is a special treat, though, and has always been my favorite area in our warehouse. The smells, the colors, the misshapen varieties… it’s a beautiful thing! Phillip Spencer, our Specialty Buyer and Resident Chef at FreshPoint Atlanta, shares more on the festival.
“Last year the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes Festival seemed like a dream. I hadn’t been a “Chef” for what seemed like an eternity but there I was in the middle of a collection of Atlanta’s heaviest hitters. I saw Ford Fry, I could barely speak to the Fox Brothers. It was all I could do not to ask Kevin Gillespie for his autograph. I made a smoked tomato gazpacho (a real original). We had a really terrible location and we got clobbered. It was a nightmare but for better or worse, FreshPoint Atlanta was in the house.
This year we found ourselves in a much more enviable position in both the market and the festival. FreshPoint represents the finest Atlanta has to offer for produce and we know it. We are better and more confident than we were a year ago. I wanted to show our culinary skills were as top notch as our produce. I wanted to do something crazy. I wanted to do something that no one else was going to do. So, I decided to make ice cream. Nevermind how we would keep it frozen or how I would make enough to feed 1400 people. Go big or go home!
My inspiration came from one of my favorite sandwiches, the BLT. They are simple yet so complex and there is a very fine line between great and mediocre. In my mind, the tomato is by far the most important element to any great BLT. Who would want to eat a sandwich with an out of season tomato? FreshPoint has been sourcing these beautiful heirlooms out of North Carolina from Charlene’s Garden, and they are cover girls (more on that later). So, I decided to make bacon ice cream, iceberg crème fraiche, and white bread cones (1400 of them with a little help). The heirloom tomato caramel would be the star of this dish. Our locally sourced tomatoes are so sweet I had to do very little manipulation- I roasted them to bring out a little more sweetness, pureed them, and added them to a very simple caramel. The results were outstanding!
The big day came and went super smoothly with the assistance of honorary Sous Chefs Danni Horton and Dylan Massave. We had a great time and represented the best of what FreshPoint has to offer. Our table was decorated beautifully with heirloom tomatoes and our dish was incredibly well received. This year Ford Fry saw me, I actually could talk to the Fox Brothers, and Kevin Gillespie asked me for my auto…no he didn’t, but a guy can dream. Our judging went really well and we were definitely a hit with the fans.
So, we didn’t win but we had a great time and got to rub elbows (and held our own) with some of the greatest Chefs and Mixologists that Atlanta has to offer. We even had our picture on the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution! The event was a great success and raised thousands of dollars for The Giving Kitchen, a non profit organization that helps Atlanta’s restaurant industry workers during hard times and Georgia Organics, another non profit that connects local, organic food with families in Georgia. We are so happy to be able to give back!
We can’t wait until next year…I’ve already been scheming dishes with the Sous Chefs. Maybe tomato cupcakes with goat cheese frosting…yeah…cupcakes…”