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Dinner date: Award-winning author Hank Shaw at Black Sheep

You may have heard of Hank Shaw. Especially if you’re into cooking, foraging, fishing, hunting, or other methods used to obtain your dinner besides a trip to the supermarket. A cook and James Beard award-winning author, Shaw’s popular website, Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook and five cookbooks have cemented his position as a modern-day authority on what many see as old world skills.

According to the tagline, Shaw’s latest, Hook, Line, and Supper, focuses on the preparation of fish and other water dwellers caught in rivers, lakes, streams, and seas. Its publication is the reason Mr. Shaw will be in town next week visiting Buffalo’s own James Beard-nominated chefs, Steve and Ellen Gedra. The couple’s restaurant, Black Sheep, will host a meet and greet with Shaw, as well as an on-theme four course meal.

This isn’t the first time Shaw’s been to the Queen City. In 2016 he visited Black Sheep as part of a tour promoting the release of Buck, Buck, Moose. This is an unusual and fun partnership between a well-known chef and cookbook author and a local restaurant owner, and it’s one we don’t see here often. I asked Steve to fill readers in on how it has all come together.

Hank Shaw | Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Do you remember when you first learned of Hank Shaw?

Steve Gedra: I think it was early 2010 when I really began to get into natural foods and foraging. I’m not quite sure how I got there, but I landed on his website and didn’t leave for a long time. Hank’s continued thirst for knowledge and discovery is extremely inspiring. It’s the kind of thing that keeps tired cooks going.

What part of Mr. Shaw’s unique knowledge base do you think is likely to interest Buffalo’s home cooks and diners?

SG: Hank’s books and techniques are very approachable for all skill levels. I feel the best thing about his books is that he may use an ingredient readily available to you in your local food system, but you had no idea that it was even edible.

Black Sheep is planning four fish-focused courses to really celebrate Mr. Shaw’s visit. What can people expect at the event?

SG: Every guest will receive a copy of Hank’s new cookbook. He will sign those books and visit with our guests during the meal. His stories are numerous and fantastic. Dude has been everywhere and seen all sorts of things. After the year we’ve had (and are having), I think this kind of escapism lends us the hope we need to return to a better world. Plus, a night at Black Sheep is usually a great time, but of course I’m very biased! We will be pulling ideas from Hook, Line, and Supper and presenting a meal including dessert and hors d’ oeuvres upon arrival.

Why does Black Sheep do these sorts of events?

SG: We love doing unique events like this because it forces us to expand our horizons; sometimes it even pushes us out of our comfort zone. Plus, we get to meet cool people like Hank and hopefully a bunch of new guests in addition to seeing the return guests we love so much.

More to come

In addition to Mr. Shaw’s visit to Black Sheep (ticket info below), this month the Gedras will host two additional events. 

On Sunday, September 12, Black Sheep will host an evening soirée intended to function as a fundraiser for someone near and dear to their hearts, Mark Stojanovich. Called the Golden Hour it will feature some of Buffalo’s favorite djs: DJ Cutler, DJ Lo-Pro, and DJ Sike. 

Towards the end of the month, Black Sheep will do what it might be best known for (besides sticky toffee pudding and pig head dinners). It will support a meaningful effort undertaken by another organization. This time the organization is the Providence Farm, which “is home to sixteen diversified farms managed by 250 farmers and 100 summer youth employees from eight refugee, immigrant, and Black communities. At PFC, farmers have the opportunity to access clean, rural farmland, farming and business education, technical assistance from regional experts, and markets to generate income to support their families and communities.” You can read more about the farm and what the Gedra’s—as well as the farm’s chef, Sharif Abdi—have in store for guests on Tuesday, September 28.

Golden Hour Social

Sunday, September 12; 6 to 11p.m.

Tickets and info: No cover; see The Black Sheep on Facebook for details

Hook, Line, and Supper Hank Shaw Meet & Greet at Black Sheep

Friday, September 17; 6 to 9p.m.

Tickets and info: www.eventbrite.com

Farm to Table: The Providence Farm & Black Sheep Experience

Tuesday, September 28; 5:30 to 9:30p.m.

Tickets and info: www.eventbrite.com

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