As the Heartland Harvest Garden began to produce its first harvest in late July of 2009, Powell Gardens was chosen by the nationally renowned Jim Denevan of Outstanding in the Field, along with guest chef Jonathan Justus of the Justus Drugstore in Smithville, MO for Denevan’s first event in the Kansas City area. The mission of Outstanding in the Field is to reconnect diners to the land and the origins of their food and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. Guests flew in from across the country and The Kansas City Star covered the event and its signature long table on the cover of Star Magazine.
Then in October, as the season drew to a close, Jonathan Justus returned to put on the very first Under a Harvest Moon, a very successful fundraiser for Powell Gardens.
This year’s Under a Harvest Moon event has big shoes to fill! So, we’re bringing you a K.C. legend, Chef Michael Smith, currently owner at both his namesake Michael Smith and also Extra Virgin. Michael began his training in Denver but quickly found that he wished to immerse himself in cultural cuisine. Traveling then to the South of France in 1985 in Nice and Cassis he discovered the traditional European approach of artisinal products made from the freshest local ingredients. Fueled by this resonating impression, Michael returned to Chicago in 1987 to work as Sous Chef at Charlie Trotter’s. Not satisfied with his European training, he returned to Nice, France in 1989 to be the Executive Chef at L’Albion.
Kansas City became acquainted with Smith when he was recruited to be Executive Chef and Corporate Chef for The American Restaurant. Beginning there in 1994, Michael quickly breathed new life into both the menu and the image of the 25-year-old restaurant. His fresh, simple, unfussy American fare, supported by the foundation of his extensive French training, won the trust and loyalty of local diners. In 1999 Michael won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef in the Midwest,” a first for him and for Kansas City.
As an active member of the culinary community, Michael established a series of annual James Beard Foundation fundraising dinners, as well as developed local seminars and special events that featured celebrity chefs from all over the country. Michael and his recipes have been featured in numerous publications both locally and nationally including Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator and Robb Report. Having lent his face and name to a number of major ad campaigns, including those for Grey Poupon mustard, Vita-Prep Blenders, Kikkoman Products and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Michael continues to rank among the nation’s most recognized and respected chefs.
Michael’s patronage to the local bounty make him a perfect fit to continue this new tradition at Powell Gardens. The meal is served in courses with spendid hand-selected wine pairings. Proceeds will help Powell Gardens present programming for children because research shows kids make healthier choices when they know how their food grows.
Reservations are limited to 150 people.
Tickets can be reserved for $250. Patron tickets available for $500. (Patrons are invited to a pre-event fine wine and fresh food tour through the Heartland Harvest Garden with the Director of Powell Gardens, Eric Tschanz, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Sunday, September 19, 2010.)
Call 816-697-2600 ext. 238 to reserve. You can also reserve ONLINE, by clicking here for a ticket. PATRON tickets are available here.