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Former Windows on the World chef Michael Lomonaco (far left), a graduate of Downtown Brooklyn’s New York City Technical College Hospitality Management program, and Gary Rehaut (left), chef of the Archives restaurant at the New York Marriott Brooklyn were on hand Monday, May 13, for the Fifth Annual Metrotech Garden Festival.

The theme of the festival this year was "An Edible Flower Grows in Brooklyn."

"It often surprises people," commented Michael Weiss, executive director of the Metrotech Business Improvement District, "to learn that many of our most popular and colorful flowers have petals that are both edible and tasty."

To that end, Rehaut served a pasta salad that included sun-dried tomatoes, olives and pansy petals and presented a wedding cake - a big, lacey-looking confection - covered with edible roses and orchids, that would make the perfect centerpiece at wild food specialist and edible plant forager Wildman Steve Brill’s wedding this summer.

Students from NYC Tech, under the direction of Prof. Tom Smyth, served greens tossed with tiny white arugula flowers that imparted an earthy flavor.

The students’ stuffed zucchini blossoms proved to be the reigning stars of the festival. The fragile orange petals of the blossoms, still attached to the small green zucchini plants, were delicate and aromatic to eat - each blossom stuffed with a savory mixture of ricotta cheese, pine nuts and nutmeg. Displayed amid big baskets of deep red and bright orange nasturtiums, the blossoms looked like something Matisse would have whipped up when he grew tired of making paper cutouts in his studio.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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