A taste of Europe is probably not what one expects when they head down to the local farmers market.
But South Shore chef Eunie Lyle had more than a few unique flavors on display at the farmers market at the American Legion Tuesday morning, drawing from 25 years experience in the restaurant business, including stints in Italy and France.
Amid booths stocked with apricots, strawberries and various greens from around the region, handmade black-bean hummus, sesame apricot chipotle, vegan pesto and olive tapenade were among the offerings at Lyle’s “Taste This!” booth. The booth, which Lyle also operates at the Ski Run Boulevard farmers markets on Fridays, is an extension of the Tahoe Private Chef catering business she started about two years ago.
The former owner of the Blue Angel Cafe has a background in fine art and attended culinary school in London. She doesn’t see the seemingly disparate backgrounds as mutually exclusive.
“It is artistic. You’re combining textures, colors and flavors,” the chef said while dispensing Romesco samples to the steady stream of farmers markets attendees who braved Tuesday’s persistent drizzle.
With many of her Taste This! preparations, Lyle said she tries to make it easy for people to expand their palettes with flavor profiles they wouldn’t necessarily think of, or be comfortable experimenting with themselves. She prepares vegan and gluten-free offerings as a way to broaden her potential audience. The fare can also be made filling, tasty and to not weigh people down, Lyle said.
“You want to be able to eat something delicious and not feel like you’re going to die after you’re done,” Lyle said.
Lyle started Tahoe Private Chef after returning to the area from Vail, Colo. She’s lived at the South Shore on and off for the past 15 years and teaches regional and vegan cuisine courses at Lake Tahoe Community College.
Like a farmers market itself, Lyle prefers in-season ingredients in her recipes. She strives to create a fusion of local cultures with her meals. She’s also found a way to get her kids to eat their vegetables.
“She makes good brussel sprouts that taste like bacon,” said her daughter Anna Lyle, 8.
“Really good,” chimed in son Noah Lyle, 11.