The farm to table concept of Apples 2 Apples Catering offers fresh, organic, local seasonal menu, presented and served with eco friendly plates and cutlery. (They also specialize in providing for dietary requests as needed.) The renowned Footjoy Farm and Alemar Cheese are just two of the suppliers for Apples 2 Apples, Footjoy delivering just picked produce to their door, and a newly released Blue Earth American Brie from Alemar that Chef Roberto calls, “inviting”.
I spoke with Head Chef Roberto Morua in the fresh air of an early fall day. Most of the food for Apples 2 Apples is cooked an hour before, so it’s “fresh as possible”, said Roberto. (I did comment that I’d love to have some of what they were grilling. He was gracious, and said “Of course!”. Cue my mouth watering. Though I did wait until the buffet lunch- menu to follow in a bit for all of you.)
Talking easily while cooking, I learned that Apples 2 Apples Catering was a natural fit for Chef Roberto, as we talked about his path to becoming a chef, and what brought him to Apples 2 Apples.
Originally from Costa Rica, he would walk to the nearby market five minutes away, choosing a “pound of this, and a pound of that” off the farmer’s trucks. Ten dollars later, he “had a lot of produce”. His family background served him well, growing up with parents “who were both good cooks” , known for their cooking and baking. He discovered his own interest in the culinary arts when he was a teenager. He would stay up late with his brother watching movies, and playing video games, during summer school break- cooking for both of them in the middle of the night. “And I decided I liked to cook”, said Roberto.
From there he trained at a culinary school in Costa Rica, taking small classes and “learning everything in the industry”. His school’s principal was so impressed by Roberto that when visiting International chefs to the school were looking for an addition to their culinary team, to join in international cooking competitions, his principal recommended him. He accepted, eventually competing individually as well, saying “You lose when you don’t go, and not do it”. By doing so, Roberto, “learned what worked for me”.
Chef Roberto Morua became a part of Apples 2 Apples Catering after moving here with his native Minnesotan wife, from Costa Rica four years ago. Roberto was working for a small restaurant when he became a a part of creating a cooking competition for middle schoolers. Volunteering his time, he helped hold fundraisers to provide shirts, aprons, and classroom ingredients for the kids. It was through his volunteer time that he connected with Apples 2 Apples. He was asked to come in and interview with them, which he did the next day, and has been with them ever since.
At the TCWEP networking lunch, I finally got to taste what Roberto had been grilling, and the wait was hands down worth it: Minnesota sweet corn succotash had the goodness of bacon along with peppers, tomatoes and peas; grilled chicken breast was accompanied by a granny smith apple relish, dried cranberries and candied pecans; a summer salad with sweet Minnesota melons, ricotta (love me some cheese) and a citrus balsamic vinaigrette; and the seasonal ravioli was to die for- a savory Minnesota butternut squash stuffed ravioli with a creamy light, yet rich, sauce. The best I’ve ever had.