Thanksgiving made magical: Chef creates gourmet meals featuring local ingredients

  • Wednesday, November 6, 2019 11:27am
  • Life

Birthed in Spain from a passion for food and travel, the concept of Magical Feast by Lis David now plays an integral role in the evolving culinary culture of South Whidbey. Newly launched in April of this year, Magical Feast will now be infusing Mediterranean flavors into its first traditional Thanksgiving dinner platters for pickup on the eve of Turkey Day.

No stranger to culinary craftsmanship, David most recently served as sous chef at Vincent and Tyla Nattress’s Orchard Kitchen after settling into island life about four years ago. Now, in a unique twist on make-at-home meal kits such as HelloFresh, David actually does all the cooking for her clients using fresh local ingredients from Whidbey farmers.

The gourmet restaurant-style dishes are available for pickup at Ken’s Corner in Clinton every week, but this month showcases the chef’s creative cred in the most cherished family-table meal of the year. Every Thanksgiving dish is cooked, sliced, diced, tossed, sauced or otherwise ready to heat and eat.

The holiday menu from Magical Feast features bits and pieces from across North and South Whidbey fields, farms and barns, including Deep Harvest Farm homestead sweet-meat squash and garlic-and-herb whipped sweet potatoes from the fields of Foxtail Farm.

The sweet potatoes are a source of pride on Whidbey, due to the triumph of Stephen and Amy Williams in cultivating the crop at Foxtail despite its proclivity for warmer and more humid climates. From a childhood spent in North Carolina, the largest sweet potato producer in America, Stephen Williams was persistent in finding a way to bring the crop with him to the island.

“We need to do a few special things to make sweet potatoes thrive in our climate, other than just planting them into the ground,” Stephen Williams said. “Finding the right growing methods has been an important part of the puzzle.”

Though Foxtail Farm keeps the sweet secret deeply buried, David is more than happy to feature the organic tubers in her Thanksgiving menu. The entire menu, which is available as a complete meal for four people (or eight or 12, etc.), includes the following:

* Very slowly cooked heritage turkey breast and turkey gravy

* Garlic-and-herb whipped Foxtail Farm sweet potatoes

* Wild mushroom and leek savory bread pudding

* Roasted green beans with Pecorino cheese and toasted bread crumbs

* Deep Harvest Farm sweet meat squash and pancetta salad with orange and fennel vinaigrette

* Cranberry relish

Magical Feast also supplies food for holiday parties and small get-togethers in private homes. The ongoing Magical Meals for individuals are posted every Monday morning, and orders received by Wednesday are ready for pick-up that Sunday. The company offers more detailed staffed catering that revolves around the concept of “sombresa,” which is a melodic Spanish word meaning “over the table.”

David’s idea to launch her own kitchen and catering service sprang from a deep-seated love of Mediterranean flavors, olive oils, saffron, herbs and spices rooted in her time living in the Galicia province of Spain. After a year tutoring and mentoring students in the inner city schools of Chicago for the AmeriCorps City Year program, she used the program’s college scholarship to realize her dream of attending the School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College.

With 18 years in the food industry, including a host of prestigious internships and positions at award-winning restaurants in Chicago and Washington D.C., the budding chef’s wanderlust led her once to again to the Mediterranean. That’s where it all came together, from the ingredients to the scents, feel and approach of Mediterranean cooking and eating.

“I found magic in food and cooking when I studied and traveled in Spain; that’s where Magical Feast was born,” she said. “And last year, I did autumn in Italy with a woman who has had a restaurant for 50 years. I was there with her to learn pasta making from scratch.”

David’s husband, Zvi Bar-Chaim, holds degrees in atmospheric science and a masters in teaching,but applies them to his current work with the Coupeville Farm to School program. Noting that her husband is of Israeli descent, David incorporates the spices, flavors and aromas of Middle Eastern foods into her dishes as well, blending influences from across the Mediterranean Basin.

For the Thanksgiving meal this month, the ordering deadline is Nov. 17 for pick-up on Nov. 27 between noon and 6:00 p.m. Order online at magicalfeast.com or call 224-276-6099.

Magical Feast shares a space with CJ&Y Decadent Desserts, so it’s easy to order holiday pies or cakes from Cj and Yvonne at cjydesserts.com.

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