Chef Meets Shelter

Being in the Anderson Valley, there are so many hidden places to explore, so much rich abundance nestled between the lush forest green. We had known about The Bewildered Pig restaurant for a while and wanted to connect with the chef there to cook a meal for our homeless guests.

Inspired by our post about receiving 1,000 pounds of organic flour from Community Grains, chef Janelle Weaver of The Bewildered Pig happened to be teaching her chef how to make certain kinds of pastas in that very moment. She took it as a sign that now was the time to collaborate.

She came up with the idea to do a lasagna with black trumpet mushroom local from Anderson Valley, using eggs from our chickens, greens from our garden, meyer lemons from our partner shelter Reach for Home. We told her just in case you’d want we also received a 500-pound donation of organic local sausage, so of course she incorporated that into the lasagna.

When we went to pick up the sausage from our partner, Sonoma County Meat Co. they asked us what we were doing with it so we explained to them about our collaboration with Janelle. They asked suspiciously what the name of the restaurant was and when we told them they said said they had just gotten off the phone with her that day about buying meat.

When we told Janelle the story we both couldn’t quite believe it and she said she was going down to visit them on Monday — the same day we’d be serving her meal at The Living Room, our partner shelter. The love naturally unfolding before our eyes.

When Janelle arrived on campus at The Living Room, we were so excited to show her the garden we’ve been growing, inspiring future meals. Fava beans plants showing off their round bright green leaves, beet sprouts just starting to peek through the ground.

When we walked into the kitchen she exclaimed, “Wow I know that smell!” As the kitchen crew were heating up the very lasagna she made for 150 of our guests. It smelled like earth with the black trumpet mushrooms, with high notes of sage and lemon, rich flavors of sausage and ricotta cheese.

She told Rebecca, our main Living Room contact, that she had been wanting to cook for us for a long time, that we modeled gentle persistence reaching out to her here and there and that she felt so inspired cooking the meal for us.

It felt like a convergence of worlds, our shelters meat and flour partners, chef partners, our gardens, so much heart straight from our backyard making its way to The Living Room campus.