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Keep it simple, insists local chef

If the Harvest Chicken Wrap, Chic-Nic or Pot Luck sound like familiar menu options, chances are you’ve met up with Patrick Sartin and his food truck.

“We are out on the streets of the Miami Valley six days a week, usually stopping at 10 different locations a week,” explains Sartin, who started Harvest Mobile Cuisine in January of 2013. “I post a schedule on my social media sites, as well as drop daily location spots. Also on our website, by clicking on the “find the truck” tab, an up-to-date calendar will pop up and display our schedule for the next several weeks.”

Sartin, who grew up in Beavercreek and has worked in restaurants and hotels throughout the country, spent seven years as a chef for Ocean Properties LTD in Bar Harbor, Maine.

His focus, he says, is serving foods that utilize locally-grown products.

“Harvest’s mission is to provide a healthier, cost-effective meal, an alternative choice of specialty comfort foods indigenous to the area it is servicing,” says Sartin who also caters both large and small events.

Some examples of his menu options?

* The Harvest Melt made of white cheddar and crumbled goat cheese served on grilled seven-grain sourdough bread from Troy’s BakeHouse Bread and Cookie Company.

* A Local Wrap featuring Hill Family Farms chicken, sliced Melrose apples, toasted walnuts, crumbled goat cheese and seasonal greens, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

* A smoked pork belly polenta cake.

Here’s what Sartin has to say about his love of fresh food and the food truck trend:

Q. What’s fun and interesting about owning and cooking in a food truck as opposed to a restaurant?

A. The advantage of having a mobile restaurant is being able to reach a variety of the population each week. In addition, we are also able to create more awareness about the hard-working growers of the area that are producing high quality products. We believe it’s an overall better choice for the consumer.

Q. Why do you think food trucks have become so popular in America?

A. With the cost of opening up a typical restaurant being so high, most professional chefs are looking for an alternative route of spreading their craft to a wide audience.

Q. What are your earliest memories of food and cooking?

A. Growing up in Beavercreek, I began prep cooking at the age of 15 working my way through several local country clubs and eateries that included The Country Club of the North, Five Seasons Sports Club, Rocky’s Pizza Ring, and Kohler’s Catering.

Q. Who taught you to cook?

A. I can’t say one sole person taught me things I know about the world of food. Rather it has been my vast travels and work experiences and sponging all the information from every corner of every kitchen that I have passed through. Watching and learning for years, from those that are professionals.

The driving force that brought all of my experiences together was obtaining a degree from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. That continues to drive my passion for cooking to this day.

Q. We understand that you have cooked and traveled throughout the country. What did you learn from those experiences?

A. Being able to absorb the different food cultures throughout the regions of the United States through work has helped to provide me not only with the unique flavor profiles that are important to each region, but also the many different ways common ingredients can be used to meet each authentic taste.

In the New England region, for example, they use more farm-to-table, old school methods of cooking. They don’t use commercial products, they extract flavors from simple ingredients.

In the Southwest, a warmer climate, they work with different types of vegetables. They use more peppers, and freshwater fish.

Q. What are your specialties when it comes to cooking?

A. I enjoy utilizing fresh, locally- grown products and the simplest cooking techniques, in order to not over manipulate the product, and let its true flavor shine.

Q. What cookbooks do you recommend?

A. “The French Laundry,” “The Food Lovers Companion,” “James Beard American Cookery.” It’s not a cookbook, but a very good book about our current food state is ” The Omnivorous Dilemma.”

Q. What advice do you have for people who haven’t really cooked but would like to start?

A. Keep it simple, true flavor lies in simplicity.

Q. What are some of your favorite ingredients?

A. Anything grown locally and farmed by one person I meet, the fresher the better. I work with 12 different farms.

Some examples are the Hungry Toad Farms in Centerville where I work with Michael Malone, who produces seasonal produce, right now it’s micro-greens. I also work with Patchwork Gardens in Trotwood for seasonal produce and with Ed Hill of Hill Family Farms in Xenia for chickens.

Q. What do you love about cooking?

A. Seeing the joy on the face of the person experiencing the flavor of something I created, and knowing that I’m helping nourish the future of each individual’s body, and soul.

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