July 16, 10am–11amWhere
Blackfork Commons 12 W. Main St., Shelby, Ohio 44875
On Saturday July 16, 2016, the featured chef at the Shelby Farmers’ Market will be Ed Pickens from Cafe on Main Reception and Event Center. Our ‘featured chef’ is typically a local chef who conducts a demonstration using products and produce from local farm markets and growers. These demonstrations are sponsored by the Hazel Grove Farm Bureau Community Council and the Richland County Farm Bureau.
Ed Pickens is one of the premier caterers in Richland County and beyond. Ed’s demonstrations are like a magic act; he and his assistant come in a truck or van. They open the doors and they keep pulling things out such as grills, work tables, pots and pans, and food items. Somehow the grills are lighted and the food is masterfully cooked while Ed educates and entertains the crowd with his stories. Before the you know it, the meat, vegetables, and a dessert have been cooked and are ready to be sampled. After all, “it must be magic if he can grill a radish and it tastes good!”
Ed first explored his interest in cooking starting through cooking part-time at Shakey’s Pizza. He then moved on to Lum’s Restaurant in Mansfield. He did some catering and decided that he would like that as his job. He went to conferences and to classes regarding catering in order to improve his skills. He continued working and catering through the restaurants’ kitchens at the Surrey Inn in Ashland, Short Ribs in Mansfield, and Schmidts in Columbus.
Ed then opened his own catering kitchen and has been serving Mansfield for the past 20 years. Six and a half years ago he moved his catering business and opened a restaurant at his current address. Ed Pickens’ Cafe on Main became a popular lunch spot; but after four years, the kitchen was closed to focus
on the growing catering business.
Ed caters for a variety of events and can manage 2-3 events at one time, depending on the size of the parties. He also uses other venues to cater for events. Ed caters 40 weddings a year either at the banquet site or as far away as Columbus. Ed has had as many as 1,300 people to serve at one event. When asked how he can plan for this, he smiles and says that it is merely a math problem starting with 50 people and multiplying and dividing to get the answer. Ed also reports that no matter the size of the event, the customer can customize the menu.
Ed also formulates his own recipes. He can put the flavors together in his head and then formulate the recipe together. Ed feels that people jump into changes. He reports that whether it is in his business or in his cooking, it is best to work hard, take time to evaluate, and then use creativity to manage whatever the results and changes are.
When asked about using totally local produce and products, he responded that locally for him is within 100 miles. He reports this is for several reasons: the quantities needed for a large event, the length of the growing season and the availability of the product, and the licensing and rules for the producers issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Ed’s business is located at 28 N. Main, Mansfield. He can be contacted at 419-522-7699.
The next featured chef demonstration will be held at the Shelby Farmers’ Market July 30, 2016 at 10 a.m. The chef will be Chef Michael Morton from the Ontario Event Center and Brown Derby Restaurant. Hope to see you there!