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F.C. Farmer’s Market Chef Wows With Strawberries

strawberriesFalls Church has a sweet tooth, as Chef Rob Valencia discovered last Saturday during his Falls Church Farmers Market Chef Series presentation.

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LIBERTY TAVERN RESTAURANT GROUP Pastry Chef Rob Valencia mixed up a batch of his Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta at the Falls Church Farmer’s Market Chef Demonstration last Saturday. (News-Press photo)

Falls Church has a sweet tooth, as Chef Rob Valencia discovered last Saturday during his Falls Church Farmers Market Chef Series presentation.

Even as Valencia, pastry chef for Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, whipped up 450 sweet treats for the Farmer’s Market crowd, they disappeared before his very eyes, with all samples completely gone in just under an hour and a half. “It felt really nice to see the desserts fly out the door;” he said.

The fortuitous early-birds who obtained one of the small masterpieces found a dessert suited for a sunny Spring day. The berry-topped homage to Italy with direct-from-the-farm strawberries floating atop an enticingly rich, vanilla-bean-specked white layer of carefully-cooked cream was exquisite.

Its texture smooth as silk, rich but not in the least bit heavy. Each bite yielded a combination of both sweet and sharp. “I wanted to participate to promote the culture of ‘Farm to Table’ cooking,” said Valencia.

Indeed the strawberries tasted like they were picked just hours earlier.

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THE F.C. FARMER’s market is excellent spot to find home grown, local produce like strawberries. (Photo: News-Press)

As the executive pastry chef for the Liberty Tavern Restaurant group in Arlington, Valencia’s restaurants include Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington), Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd., Arlington) and Lyon Hall (3100 Washington Blvd., Arlington). While he calls Northern Virginia his home now, his journey didn’t start locally.

He first left his native Texas and landed in San Francisco at the Boulevard restaurant. Then, he voyaged to New York to serve as pastry chef at the restaurant Blue Fin. Valencia finally settled in Northern Virginia, an area that he sees as flourishing. “I think it’s an exciting time to be part of this up and coming scene,” he said.

He’s been featured in Art Culinaire, Time Out NY, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and most recently in Chocolate French and Sweet New York. And now, the Falls Church News-Press.

As for his first Chef Series presentation, Valencia believes it was successful and he thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the people at the market. “I would definitely do it again. I had a blast,” he said.

The Falls Church Farmer’s Market takes place Saturdays from 8 a.m. – noon at 300 Park Ave. in Falls Church.

Upcoming Farmer’s Market Chef Demonstrations: June 5, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farms, Chris Chapeau Long; June 26, Sinplicity Catering, Leland Atkinson; Aug. 21, Argia’s, Aimee Suyehiro; Sept. 11, The Westins Tysons Corner, Brian Long; Oct. 2, Willow, Debra Rubin Kate Jensen & Tracey O’Grady; Oct. 30, The Liberty Tavern, Liam LaCivita & David King; Nov. 20, 2941, Chef Bertrand Chemel.

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