Clabber Girl’s got something new they’re offering you, and you better start adding it to your calendar because it’s only here once a month. We’re taking an inside look into Clabber Girl’s Chef’s Night event. But first…if you aren’t familiar with Clabber girl outside of the baking powder. Clabber Girl’s corporate headquarters located in downtown Terre Haute features a unique and inviting first floor open for all to enjoy.
Clabber Girls main entrance is located under its signature teal awning. Upon entering, directly to the left is the main attraction on the first floor, the Bake Shop Café. The café is open 6 days a week, Monday thru Saturday. The get your morning going bright and early at 6:30am (with the exception of Saturday, when they open at 8am) and serve up a variety of savory breakfast items and baked goods until 11am. Their lunch menu offers a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and bowls; with a different lunch special featured every day.
If you continue to the left, through the cafes main dining room, you will find yourself in an open room with a rustic industrial look. This is called the Rex Room and was formally the old spice mill and coffee roaster when the building first opened (yours truly might give tours of the first floor and loves to talk about all the amazing history behind the building and the company). In this room you can get a first hand look at the guys roasting Rex Roasting Co. coffee and a peek inside the classroom kitchen, where they offer pre-scheduled cooking demonstrations and private and public cooking class. On the opposite end of the building is their museum that is open to the public to view or guests can request pre-scheduled guided museum tours. That’s just a little overview of what you can find on the first floor. But let’s get back to CHEF’S NIGHT.
Chef’s Night is a pop-up restaurant that is featured the first Friday of every month. The menu is created by my very talented work partner-in-crime Executive Chef Amanda Shook. Each month she creates a new menu to feature for the event…from Mediterranean to Thai, Summer Canapes to World Street Foods. There is no cuisine that she won’t explore and share with all her customers.
Last month was one of my all-time favorite menus with a South American cuisine (where in the world in Terre Haute can you get scratch made tamales?) There are numerous cuisines featured that you just can’t find in the area or Chef Amanda finds her own unique twists to put on some of our most favorite cuisines.
To take a little insider peek as to what goes into each month, in the weeks leading up to Chef’s Night, Chef Amanda puts in numerous hours of work researching the featured cuisine and/or menu theme. She develops a menu and submits that so we can begin promoting the new menu for that month’s event. The work doesn’t stop there, there is fine tuning recipe development, ordering to be done (multiple items have to be special ordered in, just for this event), shopping at local shops like the Asian Market, and prep lists to be prepared. Plating needs to be discussed and decided upon, and that’s all before any of the cooking can even begin!
The Monday of Chef’s Night kicks off the beginning of the work for the event. We divide out the prep lists (typically 4-5 pages LONG), assigning different items to each person to be prepped. We’ve been doing these events for a little over 2 years now and we all have areas we excel in that compliment one another to make this event a success. Chef Amanda and I do a majority of the prep work, but these events just wouldn’t work without the Director of First Floor Operation, April Osburn. She’s the face that keeps everyone happy during the event (including us) and our dessert secret weapon (her and Chef Amanda come up with some AMAZING boozy concoctions)! While Chef Amanda and I work the line during the event, she puts out any figurative fires, keeps all our guests smiling, and jobs in wherever needed to ensure our customers have the best experience possible.
Just like if you’re visiting the café for breakfast or lunch, guests place their dinner orders at the Bake Shop Café counter. Order numbers are given to the customer and dishes are brought out to the guests table as they are prepared. While they are waiting, they can enjoy a cash bar and live music from a variety of local artists. If you’re really lucky, there’s typically a complimentary table item that matches the cuisine for guests to enjoy as well (think zesty marinated olives, herby popcorn, zippy seasoned pretzels, and more).
We finished out Chef’s Night with our monthly tradition…tickets. At the end of every night we pull the strand of every ticket ordered and see how far it stretches out. This last one is from our May 2018 event and our BEST night yet. Be sure to stop in and add to the traditional for our next Chef’s Night on June 1st from 6-8:30pm. It’s just a few short weeks away and we’ve got a fun menu headed your way DINER – DECONSTRUCTED! Chef Amanda just submitted the menu yesterday and I don’t want to give away to many secrets…but I can’t wait for her twist on the classic BLT!