Cooking with California chef Thomas Keller is a bucket list-worthy activity for any home cook (or professional chef), and on September 10, you can do just that—virtually, of course. Keller has teamed up with Denver’s Marczyk Fine Foods and Niman Ranch, a cooperative of small family farms sustainably raising livestock, for an online hog farmer appreciation fundraising dinner. The meal and corresponding Zoom master class with chef Keller supports Niman’s Next Generation scholarship fund, which helps young farmers further their educations. Marczyk is the only shop in the country from which you can pick up the fresh ingredient kit Keller devised to make his recipes.

Photo courtesy of Marczyk Fine Foods.

The kit, which will be available for $200 at both Marczyk locations, includes the Niman pork chops, applewood-smoked bacon, and Thomas Keller-produced veal stock you need to whip up the chef’s menu of pan-roasted pork chops, crushed potatoes, blistered cauliflower, and spiced apple cider gastrique. You’ll also receive fresh honey from Niman Ranch’s founding hog farmer Paul Willis’ farm; a dinner recipe card; ingredient and equipment lists; stylish denim apron; and a link to the live Zoom event. All of the funds raised from sales of the kits, which serve two people, goes directly to the scholarship fund. “We’re not taking a cut, and Niman isn’t taking a cut,” owner Pete Marczyk says. “Every penny that’s raised goes to the kids.”

For an additional $29.99, the store is offering a mise en place kit, which comes with all of the additional ingredients (over 20 total) required. The Marczyk team will also portion out everything you need to make the recipes as easily as possible. Translation: more time to focus on asking Keller insightful questions and less on measuring veal stock.

On the night of September 10, seven Michelin star recipient Keller will cook along with you and a limited number of participants, answering your questions via Zoom. No pressure, you’ll just have one of the world’s greatest chefs giving you exclusive tips and staring into the virtual depths of your home kitchen.

2019’s class of Niman Ranch Next Generation scholarship recipients. Photo by Leigh Loftus, courtesy of Niman Ranch

Marczyk Fine Foods has been contributing to the Niman scholarship fund for almost a decade, and this year it is hoping to raise $30,000. Anyone involved with one of Niman’s sustainable family farms, from workers to a farm owner’s child, is eligible to apply for a scholarship, which can be used for any type of schooling. “The whole idea is that we get the kids through school without debt,” Marczyk says. “Then they can make the career choice that is what they want to do, not what they have to do.”

Pre-order your ingredient kits online from the 17th Avenue store or Colfax store by September 6 for pick up at the stores on September 9 or 10.  You’ll receive a code to join Keller in the Zoom class, which goes from 6–7:15 p.m. MT on September 10.

Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy
Allyson Reedy is a freelance writer and ice cream fanatic living in Broomfield.