THE TASTING TABLE visits camp - & one more reason to love Heather Sperling.
Heather Sperling (think Grace Kelly with a spatula) of THE TASTING TABLE paid us a visit recently, and cooked up a storm. I'm not quite sure how she managed to whip up a feast for 20 while giving cooking instructions the entire time, but a new bar for style has been set for style while weiling kitchen knives.
The former summer camp, located 90 miles from Chicago, is stylishly revamped and long on retro charm. Owner Tereasa Surratt’s knack for collecting extends to the kitchen: Vintage meat grinders, cast-iron pans and a trove of antique plates and colorful Fiesta dinnerware make cooking and serving a joy. (A tip: Bring your own knives.)
Outdoor cooking is especially fun, with charcoal and gas grills, fire pits and a log-fueled smoker--built into a hill, no less--on hand.
Nearby shops provide everything needed for a feast. Stock up on mushrooms, local produce, sauces, spreads and dips at the well-stocked farm store at River Valley Ranch, a mushroom farm.
Lake Geneva Country Meats packs its cases with locally raised fodder for the smoker and the grill, like beef, pork, lamb and a dozen varieties of house-made sausages.
Elegant Farmer has gained accolades for its pies, but we found them too sweet. Go instead for local honey, cheese, bread and produce, like the giant, dirt-cheap bag of just-picked asparagus we scored on a recent visit.