Countdown to ARToberfest: Thirsty Thursday

As part of NCLAC's ongoing Countdown to ARToberfest "Thirsty Thursday" series, we have been featuring homebrewers who will be participating in the event. The big day is coming up soon on October 5th! For this week's "Thirsty Thursday," we decided to focus on the food that will be served at the event. Last year, Rosemary's Kitchen catered the event, and we are excited to announce that they will be catering for us again this year!
I spoke with Sara from Rosemary's Kitchen, which is run by passionate whole-food cooks, Rosemary Thomas and Sara Corley. Rosemary and Sara have been busy renovating their new location at 400 Bonner St in Ruston, which they hope will be ready by the end of the month. They keep a blog (SimpleFreshGood.blogspot) with recipes, updates on renovations, and just general thoughts about cooking with whole foods. This past week, I spoke to Rosemary about her business and plans for the future and ARToberfest.
Rosemary Thomas:  Rosemary's Kitchen was started about two years ago by me and my daughter Sara Corley. Both of us love to cook and started by having a booth at the Ruston Farmer's Market.  In addition, we did have some catering jobs and filled special orders for folks who were having family come in town, hosting a dinner party, etc.  Because we did not have a location at that time, we had to rent commercial kitchen space in order to fill our orders.  I actually live in Stonewall, LA (south of Shreveport) so this was a rather cumbersome arrangement, to say the least.
In December of 2011, a friend saw a "for sale" sign at the Bonner Street location and gave us a call encouraging us to set up shop.  We loved the location and the "feel" of the house, so we took a deep breath and jumped in!  The planning and permit process along with the renovations have taken a lot longer (and cost a lot more) than we anticipated, but we have learned so much in the process!  We are working hard to be open by the end of August!


The food at Rosemary's Kitchen will be a new approach for this area.  Our concept can be described as "home-stylefood with a modern twist".  We believe that folks are hungry for something other than the usual "fast food" type items.  If you are looking for a hamburger and fries, we may not be able to help you.  As a matter of fact, we don't even have a fryer!   Another difference you may notice is that we will not have a set menu.  Although we will be open for lunch during the week, there will be different items offered each day.  There will be at least one vegetarian entree choice each day as well.
A big part of our business will  be take-home foods.  We understand that modern families are usually made up of working parents and busy schedules.  Families that want fresh, wholesome foods for their families can now come by and pick up entree items (fresh or frozen) salads, side items, baked goods, etc for their families.  A wide selection of other items (granola, hummus, jellies) and a gift shop with unique items from local artisans will also be part of our shop. 
The logo/slogan "simple, fresh, good" is very important to Rosemary's Kitchen.  We want our food to be simply prepared and highlight the true nature of the food item itself.  Freshness is essential.  We will be preparing all our food from scratch and using a minimum of frozen or processed ingredients.  Local growers will be supplying our fresh produce when possible (and I have a large garden as well) and in-season fruits and vegetables will be featured. We strive to have our food taste good and be good for you as well!
We had a ball catering the ARToberfest last year!  We have submitted a bid for this year's program and hope to be able to cater this event again!  It was so much fun to come up with a large selection of appetizers - what is more fun that party food?
Do we think cooking is an art form?  Absolutely!  As with other art forms, there is a set of basic techniques that must be learned, but once those initial lessons are mastered, there are no limits!  Coming up with a new recipe (or even changing an existing flavor profile or using new spices) requires creativity, which is the basis for all artistic expressions! Unlike a painting that can be looked at and enjoyed for many years, food is more like music in that it must be enjoyed in the moment.  And that is where we strive to stay - enjoying the present moment as best we can.