BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - They walk into the big Saturday Red Stick Farmer's Market in Baton Rouge like some kind of over-the-top shoppers.
Bryce Silvio pulls his blue and white jumbo cooler on wheels around to the various farmer's stalls picking up orders last and small.
After spotting him for several weeks, going up to Feliciana's Best Creamery farmer Mike Brian and hauling away milk crates of creams, milks, butters, wondering if there'd be any left. Well there is, because farmers like Mike Brian know Silvio's coming and how much he'll want. He pre-orders.
Silvio is a chef for the famed historic home Houmas House. The Carriage House Restaurant is the more upscale of the restaurants on the plantation home's property. Other restaurants cater to more casual diners.
"I am one of the chefs at the Carriage House Restaurant at Houmas House plantation," Silvio said. "I kind of work all the restaurants. Our restaurants focus on local products. We have gardens on our property that we use as much as we can. We take turns going to the Farmer's Market to supplement it (the farm's produce)."
Silvio is speaking of the other chef at work in the Houmas House restaurants, Joseph Dicapo.
In fact, if you see one at the farmer's market, you will not see the other. Silvio says the quality of the locally-produced food ingredients can't be beat.
"From Farmer's market, we get most of our dairy; our pork products from Iverstine Farms, all of our eggs from vendors..and also we get a lot of our cheese that we showcase in our salads. We look around and see what's in season."
Silvio says the season can drive the menus..they have adjusted to showcased the fruit or veggie that's prime. "We've gotten watermelons, blueberries, and strawberries."
He says they are currently using farmer Buddy Miller's peaches from Waterproof, LA for a peach and pork dish. Just the mention of that makes my mouth water!
"We get all of our grits and yellow flour from the farmer's market. The stone-ground grits from 'Paw Paw.'"
Silvio makes quite a trip, driving up to grab what are basically groceries..but again, fruits that have been allowed to ripen on the tree and vine, some proteins that have never been frozen…Silvio says as chefs, he and Dicapo want to see the ingredients for themselves.
"When you're the chef, ultimately we know what we have in mind; what we want to use it for. We know the quality of food we're expecting. Now, a lot of times, we may not know what we wanta do. So from the Farmer's Market we get that inspiration."
Silvio says local people never mention it, but some of the tourists will comment that they love the Farm to Table dishes offered at The Carriage House.
Silvio says he graduated from Chef John Folse's Culinary Institute at Nicholls State in 2014. Something tells me he learned to shoot for the best in the kitchen.
The Red Stick Farmer's Market is every Saturday from 8 a.m. to Noon on the corner of 5th and Main Street in downtown Baton Rouge. If you see those giant blue-and-white coolers, don't worry. There will always be some left for us.