Welcome to CVI Food Lab at Culinary Vegetable Institute
The concept of CVI Food Lab came together not too long ago inside the Culinary Vegetable Institute at the Chef’s Garden. It was dreamt up by the CVI’s team of Executive Chef Jamie Simpson and Chef de Cuisine Ülfet Özyabasligil, who have the unique privilege to live and work everyday on the farm and in the Institute, surrounded by birds, sun, and the sweet smell of flowers. Days go by fast around here! Everyday there are fresh ideas and new culinary experiences. Each morning brings another kind of work to be done and another chance to learn as we experiment, with the delicious products harvested from the Chef’s Garden. We share our conclusions with each other and with the rest of the culinary community as we decode the mysteries and the science behind the traditional and modern methods of culinary tradition. At night we say goodbye to our kitchen, to the moon and the stars, as the ideas swimming inside of our heads seem to whisper, “Tomorrow is waiting”!
–Ülfet Özyabasligil, 2015
The 11,000-square-foot facility built of locally quarried limestone, pine and cedar exterior with a wild cherry, black walnut, tulip poplar, oak and ash interior was designed from a basic concept of the Jones Family.
Sitting on approximately 100 acres, the Institute includes a 1,500 square foot state-of-the-art two story Kitchen designed byMark Stech-Novak with full audio-visual capabilities for demonstrations; a 1426 square foot Dining Room with 22 foot ceilings (capable of seating 90); an Executive Chef Suite with luxury amenities; accommodations for visiting chefs’ teams; a Culinary Library; Root Cellar and Wine Cellar; and experimental vegetable, forest and herb gardens.
Visiting chefs can utilize the CVI’s facilities and gardens for educational, team-building and retreat purposes. With the farm nearby, chefs can experience The Chef’s Garden planting and harvesting methods, pick vegetables themselves and return to the CVI for relaxation or to experiment in the kitchen.
We wanted to share the article recently published on Lake Erie Living 2015 Travel Guide. Take a few minute break and read it, get to know us better!! If you have any comments, questions, or just to say “hello” we would love to hear from you..
“The dream of being waited on by a personal chef can come true at the Culinary VegetableInstitute (CVI), a state-ofthe-art, chef-focused learning center in Milan, Ohio, that also offers an exclusive farm stay in its country lodge for overnight guests. Set overlooking a wooded riverfront on 100 acres of farmland, the private retreat, with king-size bed, Jacuzzi, stone fireplace and kitchen, was designed to house visiting chefs from all over the world who turn to the CVI for culinary inspiration. It’s a place where they can do R&D while they get some R&R. “This is the playground for the top dogs in the field,” says chef de cuisine Ülfet Özyabasligil Ralph. “They can pick whatever they want on the farm and create, cook and eat.” But when the guest suite isn’t occupied, it’s available to anyone looking for a one-ofa-kind, bed-and-breakfast experience down on the farm. The beautiful property is crisscrossed with hiking trails that are accompanied by a soundtrack of chirping songbirds and raptor sightings. The canoe propped up on the greenhouse can be taken out on the river for a scenic paddle or fishing excursion. Guests can wander through aromatic herb gardens and flowerbeds filled with flowers begging to be picked. In fact, a sign at the entrance reads: “please do pick the flowers.” Inside the lodge, you could spend hours curled up with a book in the comfy massage chairs. CVI’s extensive library is packed with cookbooks from celebrity chefs who found their way to this part of Ohio, which is otherwise most well-known as the birthplace of inventor Thomas Edison. While there’s plenty to keep a guest occupied, the focus is on the food, which is overseen by culinary geniuses Özyabasligil Ralph and executive chef Jamie Simpson, who will dream up dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. While the meals are customized to the guest’s liking, the focus is always on sustainable products and homegrown specialty herbs, vegetables and edible flowers that the farm regularly ships to some of the finest restaurants around the globe. One thing is for sure: The morning meal won’t look like your typical farmhouse breakfast. During a recent stay, the chefs prepared a sinful take on eggs auberge served on the lodge’s wraparound porch. With eggs from the henhouse, Simpson poached the yolks, which he returned to the shell, followed by whipped egg whites folded with maple syrup and sherry. He topped the whole thing off with caviar and a fresh cutting of chives. Then came a plate of thinly sliced Surryano ham. “This ham came from Berkshire pigs in Surry County, Virginia, that are fed locally grown peanuts,” Simpson explains as he places it on the table. “Surry does two things well: pigs and peanuts. It’s a natural marriage.” More food arrives, including fresh baked croissants, a slab of oozing honeycomb from a neighboring farm next to a hunk of creamy, house-made camembert cheese garnished with edible marigolds.
Then Simpson pours a peach pit bellini, which has an intense flavor that comes from cracking open peach pits and macerating the internal nut in vodka until the infusion takes on an almond cherry flavor. The vodka is mixed with freshly pureed peaches and topped with champagne.There are plenty of reasons to raise the glass at this moment. A tour of the farm after breakfast helps solidify the connection between the food we consume and where it comes from. While the farm has a crew to care for the crops, Özyabasligil Ralph and Simpson have their own small plots in which to experiment with different plant varieties, such as Peruvian corn, quinoa and millet, which they use to make their own flour. Working the land may not have been in their job description, but the chefs believe the knowledge they’ve gained ultimately benefits the farm, not to mention the guests who will eventually eat the products grown here, whether it’s fresh bread made from homegrown millet flour or a shaved vegetable salad with herb dressing.