Mike Ferrari Delights with Ultra-Local Dinners at The Farm Kitchen
Culinary expert Mike Ferrari is a chef first and foremost, but he’s also an educator. He got his start just around the corner, at AB Tech, and was later called on to teach as adjunct faculty. Perhaps that’s why he’s been so excited about the new cooking classes offered at Candler event venue The Farm, whose in-house restaurant is lucky to call him executive chef. Dubbed simply “The Farm Kitchen,”its title belies its sophistication. Mike Ferrari and his crew use the freshest possible ingredients, much of it picked from The Farm’s own garden, to elevate the experience for all who dine there. When it comes to planning dinners for the weddings and special celebrations held at The Farm, personal attention is everything for him. “I don’t try to shoot [event guests] prix fixe menus,” he says. “I ask guests where they’re from, what they like to eat, and build menus around that.” Indeed, each event at The Farm features a custom menu, and more than a few have been known to evoke standing ovations.
That personal touch carries through to his classes, which see him guiding budding chefs through the various practices he uses every day. Though many of his students are long-time home cooks, quite a few are just beginning to explore the kitchen arts. That may be intimidating, but Mike makes sure everybody has a great time. “It’s about guests surprising themselves with what they can do,” he explains. At the start, he gives guests a cutting board, apron, knife, and full instructions, and under his careful guidance, everybody produces something tasty. “It’s a fun, laid back night,” he says.
He also makes sure every ingredient is in place for his students to work magic as soon as they walk in. Mike waxes poetic about the culinary principle of mise en place, a French phrase that translates to “everything in place,” as key to the art form. “The importance of mise en place is infinite,” he explains. “Whether you’re a chef, line cook, or just cooking at home, preparation is everything.”
With a wide range of praiseworthy dinners and many happy guests under its belt, it’s hard to believe that The Farm Kitchen has only been open since last October. Mike Ferrari has been there since day one, guiding staff and patrons toward world-class dining amidst the beauty of Candler’s rolling hills. Of course, this makes it all the more exciting: still in its early days, The Farm Kitchen is showing itself to be a true culinary destination and in particular, a go-to spot for the very best in local food.