By: Adrianna Matamoros Special to the Delray and Boca newspapers
Renowned for its innovative measures to encourage healthy, whole-food eating and for its title as Boca Raton’s highest rated farm-to-table restaurant, Farmer’s Table in Boca launched its groundbreaking culinary program in the new year, led by Abigail Nagorski, the restaurant’s newest Community Outreach and Education Director.
“The goal of Farmer’s Table is to serve and promote a holistic way of eating and lifestyle,” Nagorski said. “It is incredibly successful within its own niche in the community and the owner and I wanted to extend the concept as much as we could.”
The classes, which vary from kids cooking lessons, to adult “Wine and Dine” courses, carefully instruct the process of preparing a home cooked meal from beginning to end, incorporating simple foods and fresh ingredients.
“Really knowing what is in your food is so important today,” she said. “That is my main goal with these classes, to teach the whole family about healthy eating and how to implement a healthy lifestyle.”
With a background in community outreach and cooking instructing, Nagorski applies her experience and culinary skills to each class, preparing three to four dishes while participant’s watch and intermingle.
“There is so much to learn here and I love to cook, so coming to these classes is like a breath of fresh air,” said Boca Raton resident Elaina Merl, who is a frequent cooking class participant. “This is not my first class and this will not be my last. Abigail is very informative and uses the ingredients in a way that serves as inspiration.”
The classes are set up in a live,TV-like setting and encourage interaction among participants.
“I have a wood-top demo cart on wheels with a stainless steel table and a mirror above it, so that everyone can see,” explained Nagorski. “I prepare flavor-induced water for the guests’ enjoyment while I cook. At the end, everyone gets a sampling of each dish.”
Aside from guest collaboration and mealtime educating, accommodating a variety of diets is a specialty of the class, as participants can voice any allergies or diet restrictions and be offered alternatives.
“I work with so many special diets and I always carefully consider any food allergy,” the chef said.
As food awareness has progressed considerably within recent years, the number of specialized diets has increased, ranging from vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. Carefully structured and seasonally themed, the courses offer differentiation.
“Not all classes are raw and vegan,” continues Nagorski. “We do everything and guests can ask questions or disclose allergies by contacting me beforehand.”
While embracing a myriad of eating styles is an instrumental component to the class, its ultimate purpose is to educate and to inspire innovative, life-changing perspectives with regards to healthy eating and living.
“Awareness for food education, especially amongst kids, is very important for this country,” said Nagorski. “It is amazing to see how involved and interested adults and kids alike become when learning to nourish themselves.”
Immense popularity for the classes have inspired Nagorski and her team to consider ways to further expand the program, including improving guest interaction, featuring community chefs and hosting a baking course which offers dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan baked goods.
For more information, visit farmerstableboca.com.