Adventures with Food: Summer in the Heartland Harvest Garden

Adventures with Food:  Summer in the Heartland Harvest Garden

Kansas City’s culinary reputation is on the rise as chefs serve up deliciousness in settings ranging from food trucks to high-end restaurants. With a bounty of fresh, local ingredients to work with, Kansas City’s culinary pros have become known for their innovation in the kitchen.

And there’s no better laboratory for experimentation than Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden. As the nation’s largest edible landscape, this 12-acre garden is a showcase for everything one can grow and eat in the Kansas City region—with more than 2,000 types of edible plants. The garden is a natural draw for Kansas City’s top chefs, who have been known to spend hours exploring the garden’s goodness.

Luckily, there are many ways the public can partake in what these culinary stars create from Heartland Harvest Garden ingredients.

Missouri Barn Dinners


Photo by Paul M. Ingold

The Missouri Barn Dinner series, now in its third season, is a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Guests enjoy a one-night-only multicourse menu paired with drinks and served in the relaxed setting of the open-air Missouri Barn in the Heartland Harvest Garden. The 2014 series includes:


Photo by Paul M. Ingold

June 22 — Joe Shirley, Chef/Owner at Überdine

Chef Joe’s love of cooking began at age 8, and his passion for great food has never waned. He has worked as a chef at several area restaurants, including Grand Street Café, Kona Grill and re:Verse.

He is now the executive chef for a prominent bank in Kansas City. Last year, he added a new venture: Überdine, where he offers high-end, pop-up dinners that take place throughout Kansas City, catering and restaurant consulting. It’s the last call for tickets to Chef Joe’s dinner this Sunday evening: call 816-697-2600 x209 or sign up online at www.powellgardens.org/dinners.

June 29 — Live-Fire Dinner with Craig Jones, Food Network’s Grill Mayor

This marks a first for Powell Gardens: a multi-course dinner created over live fire! Powell Gardens’ visitors first met Craig Jones during a great chef’s demo in 2013. Now he’s returning with a menu showcasing the flair and craft of cooking on outdoor grills. This dinner has already sold out, but you can join the waiting list by calling 816-697-2600 x209.

July 20 — Vegetarian Dinner with Craig Howard, Chef/Owner at Howard’s Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch

Craig Howard is a talented chef and avid gardener—a perfect combination for presenting the series’ first vegetarian dinner. Owner of Howard’s Organic Fare and Vegetable Patch, Chef Craig knows the Heartland Harvest Garden well. Last June, he was the guest chef for a Test Kitchen dinner at Powell Gardens and he’s presented two demonstrations in the Garden Chef Series.

October 12 — Mickey Priolo, Executive Chef at The Corner Restaurant in Westport, and Rick Mullins, Chef at Gram & Dun

Kansas City Chefs Mickey and Rick have been serving up innovative and delicious menus around town for the last two years. They have worked together in the kitchens of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Bluestem while preparing pop-up dinners and treats on First Fridays at MOD Art Gallery. Chefs Mickey and Rick embrace unique and playful flavor combinations with seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients.



Tickets, which are $90 or $80/members, are available at www.powellgardens.org/dinners.

Garden Chef Series

The Garden Chef Series is another way to sample the creative cuisine of the Kansas City region. On most Sunday afternoons in the Missouri Barn you can watch a chef, cookbook author or other culinary enthusiast demonstrate a recipe featuring ingredients grown by the talented gardeners in the Heartland Harvest Garden.

The series started in May with a demo by Cody Hogan, Lidia’s Chef de Cuisine and continues through early October. On Aug. 3, Jasper Mirabile, Chef/Owner at Jasper’s Restaurant, will teach guests how to prepare fresh mozzarella, which will be served with heirloom tomatoes.

Other culinary talent in the series includes: John Smith, Executive Chef at Pig & Finch; Charles d’Ablaing, Executive Chef at the Raphael Hotel; Chef Richard McPeake and Kansas City, Kansas, Community College Culinary Students; Mindy Lindeman Riley, Owner of Olive Tree; and Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club cookbook.

Garden Chef Series demos are included with admission. See www.powellgardens.org/chefs for the schedule.

Plan now to taste the experience of Kansas City’s culinary talents in the beauty of Powell Gardens’ Heartland Harvest Garden. It’s a delicious combination that celebrates the best of the Midwest!

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

Leave a Reply