When you’re a restaurant staying true to the farm-to-table movement, a fox in the henhouse can be a problem.
But for Table Kitchen and Bar owners Scott and Michelle Wilson and executive chef Curtis Froelich, it’s an opportunity.
“When the truck pulls up and you don’t know what’s in it, it’s like opening a present,” Scott Wilson said. “I love watching chef’s creative process and seeing the kitchen come alive with inventive ideas on what to do with it all.”
Table opened earlier this year in Southdowns in Baton Rouge. After much research on concepts and market needs, the Wilsons decided to create a locally owned company that supports other local and regionally owned businesses, all while providing the freshest, highest quality food they could find.
“We are a true farm-to-table concept restaurant,” Scott Wilson said. “We give Baton Rouge new options every couple of weeks as well as some standards, while staying true to our promise; that’s what sets us apart.”
If you think these sound like lofty goals, you’d be right, but Table is making it work thanks to honest relationships with farmers and producers and relentless attention to details happening in food systems the average shopper may not be privy to.
Chef Froelich and Wilson choose the farms they buy from based on their practices. They serve only grass-fed beef that is hormone- and antibiotic-free, and free-range chickens. Vegetables that come into the restaurant are sourced from Louisiana and Mississippi and follow organic processes. Even much of the artisanal bread is baked by a local chef.
“When there’s a whole lot of rich farm soil in the sink, you know it’s fresh,” Wilson said.
Table makes nearly everything from scratch, creating condiments, pickling vegetables, handcrafting old fashioned cocktails and more. The menu has a core list of menu items that are always available.
Outside of those, it’s up to the farms and the chef to add what is in season with new and exciting ways to cook those items. Wilson tells diners to stay tuned to the restaurant’s Facebook page where they share the new menu each time it changes.
“Every time we post a new menu,” Wilson said, “someone says ‘Wow, what are you going to next?’ We like to keep things interesting.”
Sit down with some homemade drop biscuits with sweet cream butter and start with one of Table’s classic cocktails, while studying Table’s latest menu.
Look for such seasonal specials as their fried green tomatoes, a southern staple battered in a crispy cornmeal crust, served with spicy blackened shrimp and drizzled with cool green goddess dressing.
Diners can always count on the Table burger, made with 100 percent grass-fed beef topped with Table’s own “Better Cheddar,” a spread of Tillamook cheddar, toasted pecans and Tabasco pulp, to hit the spot. There are no wrong choices, as Table promises, everything is carefully crafted and fresh as can be.
“When you come, feel free to ask us where your plate came from,” says Wilson. “We love telling the story of how and where each dish came from. People learn a lot about what’s available to us here.”