Chef John Foster: Change is in the air — and the kitchen; thinking greens and noodle bowls

Don’t tell me that it hasn’t crossed your mind. Seventy degrees, light wind, warm sunshine, could it really be? For me it’s also a slight uptick in my correspondence with local growers. Seeds are being germinated, high tunnels and hot houses are being filled, all in preparation for the spring. But it’s being done with a sense of renewed optimism bordering on urgency,...

Chef John Foster: Enjoy a special night out of course, but make family dinner your favorite routine

I would call it a lazy Sunday, but there is work to do. Meals have to be planned, food shopped for, and dinners are cooked and put away. In an ideal world, where you’re busy all the time,it’s a no brainer to plan ahead. It does take some time, and energy to be this organized, but the alternative isn’t pretty or cheap. As much as I’d like you dining at The Sage...

Chef John Foster: The mighty parsnip, a versatile root vegetable that’s both healthy, and delicious

Behold, the mighty parsnip! No, wait, that’s not right. Consider the gentle parsnip…No still not the tone I want to set. People, eat your parsnips, not only are they good for you, they’re delicious! There, that’s the proper introduction to a very sticky subject; root vegetables in general, and the parsnip in particular. Last week it was beets, this week parsnips, sometimes...

Chef John Foster: Redemption of the beet — at least partially — still doesn’t put it in ‘sexy’ category . . .

Mention beets to a certain generation and you might get a knowing look of longing. A newer generation might stare quizzically at you, confused as to why you’re referencing their technology in the same sentence as roasting and slicing. The generation in between, my generation, will probably wrinkle their noses in disdain, bordering on disgust. We are the boiled beet generation, the...

Chef John Foster: Kentucky weather wavers but there’s plenty of winter to go, so here’s to eating right

It happens every winter, without fail. Kentucky January magically becomes Kentucky April with temperatures in the 60’s, high winds, and plenty of rain. Wait for it though, the ice season is right around the corner. I guess its Mother Nature’s way of getting people to look at their seed catalogs, thinking perhaps that they might be able to get some planting done in March! Please...

Chef John Foster: Cassoulet, a French dish from Toulouse region, is history lesson, memorable meal

Make no mistake about it, we are in the deep freeze, the darkest part of winter. There are no holiday parties and bell ringing in this month, only day after day of single digit temperatures, and snow days we will be making up well into June. It’s times like these that food becomes more than just sustenance, more than just a way to pack on a few pounds to ward off the weather. If you’re...

Sullivan University System named among Best Places to Work in Kentucky for the fourth time

The Sullivan University System has been named as one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky. Sullivan was one of 30 companies in the state selected in the large-sized employer category – those employing 500 or more employees in the United States – as part of the 14th Annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky Program. “We are extremely proud of our selection as one of the best places to work in...

Chef John Foster: Cruel time for the restaurant business, but embrace change to find success

Change, which seems to happen overnight in my industry, is still one of the least anticipated concepts that we deal with every day. Whenever there is an opportunity to even explore change there must also be a corresponding action to review why the change is needed in the first place. Companies spend millions of dollars developing systems of operation to function at highly efficient rates,...

Chef Foster: Really, Seven degrees. Cold, damp winter weather calls for goulash, of course

Seven degrees. Let’s think on that for a moment. What could I possibly fix for dinner that would wipe away the effects of 7 degrees. I know we often refer to this time of year as “soup weather” Cold weather cultures have an arsenal of heavy fat, rib sticking dishes to combat the cold and damp winters, but something for 7 degrees? This may take a while… As cold as it’s...

John Foster: Sharing insight into grandeur of Ferris Wheel, the restaurant business, success, failure

The restaurant industry has always been an amusement park attraction, for as long as I’ve called Lexington my home. Part funhouse, part coaster, with the unpredictable nature of a tilt a whirl and the grandeur of the Ferris Wheel. More than once I’ve seen fortunes rise and fall, sending seismic shifts throughout our tight-knit community, and into the consciousness of the general public. Empires...

Chef John Foster: Meal planning takes center stage in the kitchen as holiday season approaches

Holiday meals always present the most obvious challenges to cooks. Pre-planning, prep lists that stretch over two or three days. Multiple trips to the grocery store and multiple carts are standard operating procedure this time of year. So many articles on holiday planning, menus and “new” techniques fill the magazines or websites of the cooking world that the rest of the day-to-day planning is...

Chef John Foster: Herbs, an acquired joy of cooking; used fresh or dry, they matter (fresh is best!)

Let’s be honest here, no one expected snow to fall before Halloween. True, there wasn’t much in the way of accumulation, but the fact that it got cold enough to see the flakes fall literally sent shivers up my spine. I’m not ready yet to give up on fall and slog through an early winter, but as is always the case with Mother Nature, it seems she has other plans. Now we may be left with hustling...

Sullivan University offering grants to prospective students in Northern Kentucky region

The Sullivan University Center for Learning-Northern Kentucky is offering grants to Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati residents to further their college education and career goals. To qualify for the grants – $300 for undergraduate students and $500 for graduate students on the first classes taken during the 2017-2018 school year – students must register through the Sullivan University...

Chef John Foster: It’s a good time to turn to the versatile potato — and here are some favorite recipes

Cold and rainy, dark and gloomy, fall has hit the area in the form of chilly temperatures and heavy rain. I liken it to a good wash after a long summer. A little scrubbing, some fresh clothes, and we’re all tidied up for the holidays. Unfortunately, most of us are still in summer mode, cooking away as though the temperatures hadn’t dropped 30 degrees and it wasn’t pitch black at 7 p.m....

Chef Foster: Channel your inner Pilgrim by making creative recipes using seasonal pumpkins

Inevitably, sometime in October I will be pressed to write about pumpkins. I will talk about their history, the origins, the botanical aspects of the various squash, and finally what you can and can’t do with them. It’s not that I mind doing this, pumpkins are after all the focal point of October, and even fall in general. Pumpkin festivals, along with corn mazes and fall hay rides were part of...

Chef Foster: Soup may not be a cure-all, but it can still be a remedy for what’s ailing us

I’ve got the sniffles and a nagging cough. Not sure if it’s allergies or I’ve finally succumbed to a common cold that’s been circulating through school. The good and the bad of fall wrapped up into one condition for which there is no cure, except? Well you can’t really call soup a cure for anything, but it can be a remedy for a lot of what may ail us. A cure would be too easy, would allow...

Chef Foster: Preserving the sanctity of pasta, one of our oldest and most versatile culinary treasures

Mention the word pasta to someone and they may shrug their shoulders slightly. Yeah, they like it alright but it’s a quick dinner, or a snack for a hungry teenager. The era of pasta as king of the menu is past, and with the proliferation of boxed pastas ready to microwave, it’s taken on a fast food mentality that to me is infuriating. This is an art form in other countries, whether it’s...

Chef Foster: A well-stocked pantry will save precious minutes for your weekend cooking projects

When fall rolls around every year, we anticipate that after the kids are back to school and the days start getting shorter, there will be a brief period of time when things will slow down. A break of sorts as we downshift from summer and gear up for the impending holiday seasons (plural) which seem to start up again the month before Halloween. Often, we find quite abruptly that this is not the case....

Chef Foster: Step out of your comfort zone with fall offerings and experience a new level of eating local

The fall season in Kentucky can become a series of culinary acrobatics, twists and turns that jolt us out of our summer reverie and force us into cooking contortions we haven’t experienced in a long time. Many “pulled muscles” result, some of which can be happy accidents on our menus, while others are quickly tossed and hopefully forgotten. In my many years of seasonal adjustments, realizing...

Bringing Hope: Eastern Scholar House provides single parents housing and support

With a smile as sunny as the September skies above, Whitney Ballew looked out over the large crowd assembled at the dedication ceremony for the Eastern Scholar House on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. There was a time not that long ago that Ballew had about given up on her pursuit of a college degree, after having attended EKU and Bluegrass and Community and Technical College (BCTC). It...