Last September, we hosted “Harvest in the Heartland”, a dinner with world-renowned chef Darina Allen of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Ireland. Served on our beautiful garden lawn, this five-course farm-to-table meal was a celebration of organic, seasonal cuisine. Proceeds from this event funded a scholarship for a local Indianapolis culinary student to study at Darina’s cookery school in Ireland. This summer Jennifer Elizabeth Ryan attended two week-long courses at Ballymaloe: Organic Farm & Gardens course and Farm to Table Cooking Essentials course. Then intention for the trip was to enhance her training as a chef and to offer valuable experience that she could bring back to the Indiana food community. We are happy to welcome her back from her travels and to share a bit about her experience!

unnamed-52Jennifer is a culinary student at Ivy Tech Community College’s Culinary Art Institute, also with a PhD in the Anthropology of Music. Before her trip to Ballymaloe, Jennifer was eager to “keep using my previous experience teaching, writing, and researching to become part of a larger conversation about food culture and sustainability, and use the opportunity to bring the experience of the courses at Ballymaloe into that conversation.”

Learning at Ballymaloe is an immersive experience, and they are proud of living and teaching the total farm to fork experience. Jennifer and the other students had the opportunity to see around the farm, glasshouses and gardens, feed the hens, watch the cows being milked, and participate in the journey of food from the land to the kitchen.

While at Ballymaloe, Jennifer became even more enamored with the art of thrifty, farm-to-table cooking during her studies at Ballymaloe, where she was impressed by their comprehensive, well-integrated system for bringing food from the land to the table as well as their attention to detail in making use of all parts of the whole foods they cooked with. Jennifer’s commitment to high quality, local ingredients was further inspired by Darina Allen’s vision for great food and flourishing farms. The excellent training she received in the philosophy and practices of slow-food cuisine will continue to enhance her studies here at Ivy Tech and beyond. She has returned with lots of inspiring ideas and practical skills to support the local food movement here in the Heartland…

Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing her knowledge with us and to Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School, Ivy Tech Culinary School, and the Slow Food organization for making this scholarship experience possible!


Fun Fact: Jennifer’s favorite dish she cooked at Ballymaloe was Lamb Chops with Sumac. We sure would love to try it, Jennifer!