Photo by Marc Alvarez
Marc Alvarez is a fixer. For his often high-power clients, he locates the best local food, delivers it and supplies recipes and menus as well. If you’ve never cooked celeriac or tatsoi, if you want a supply of local pork or sustainable seafood, grass-fed beef and milk in glass bottles, and if your life is just too busy to arrange all this, Alvarez’ Concierge Foods is for you. He’ll even cook it all for a party.
Sometimes the sourcing scene is confusing for the busy client who wants the best local food, so entrepreneur Alvarez fills a niche. He combs the Hudson Valley, using many of the area farmers I recognize, and also buys from the Lancaster County Farm Fresh Cooperative in Pennsylvania. After he makes the connection to the farmer, he educates his clients as well.
“I come at this from being a private chef with relationships with the farmers. Not only can I provide the product but I can also teach clients what to do with it,” explains Alvarez.
Roughly a year in preparation and just a few weeks up to full speed, Concierge Foods runs like a customized CSA, for which Alvarez has personally curated the choices.
His customers order by e-mail by Tuesday and he then delivers their order in time for the weekend in a refrigerated van. A recent product list included 100 percent grass-fed certified Angus beef and 100 percent grass-fed milk, as well as gorgeous Bronze Arrow lettuce (among several other lettuce varieties and salad mixes), fresh lemon balm and marjoram, Red Merlot beans, candy-striped Chioggia beets and delicate baby leeks, bok choy and puntarelle. These kinds of choices and Alvarez’ personal service are key ingredients in the Concierge Foods concept.
Here’s one of Alvarez’ easy, early summer recipes. Grill an extra steak so you have meat ready and available for a lunch as well.
Recipe: Grilled Skirt Steak and Summer Beet Salad
- 8-ounce grass-fed skirt steak
- 1 bunch mixed beets (Chioggia, Golden, Bulls Blood)
- 4 ounces mixed salad greens (especially arugula)
- 2 whole radish, sliced into thin rounds
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons fresh oregano, basil or mint, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Season the skirt steak with salt, pepper, one clove of minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover with plastic and reserve in the fridge for 2 hours.
Wash and trim the beets and place in a small pot with cold water to cover. Add a good pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until a small knife easily pierces the center (about 45 minutes). Let the beets cool; peel and slice into bite size pieces. Marinate the beets in 2 tablespoons of oil, the remaining garlic and more salt and pepper.
Prepare a hot grill and grill the skirt steak over medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Toss the salad in a bowl with the remaining oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and divide onto two plates. Arrange the beets and radish slices around the plate. Add the sliced skirt steak and serve.
Serves two as an appetizer or one person as a nice meal.