Side Dishes: LACE’s fresh food available to all
Stowe’s Chez Claudine  closed in 2008, but fans of chef Claudine Martlett can enjoy her food again — perhaps at a bargain. Beginning January 19, Martlett, now at LACE  in Barre, will serve farm-fresh dinners every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.
What does “pay-what-you-can” mean? According to LACE’s owner, Ariel Zevon , the suggested donation is $10 to $15. Those who don’t have the cash are welcome to do an hour of dishes or offer a special skill or trade as a time-share. “It’s a trial way of thinking about a food-based economy,” says Zevon. “We want to share what we do regardless of the monetary value of it.”
Martlett and members of LACE’s Focus on Occupational Development (FOOD) program will prepare the meals, which Zevon describes as “Vermont-American cuisine.” The program’s participants include juvenile offenders and mentally ill adults placed through the Washington County Youth Service Bureau  and Washington County Mental Health Services .
Members of the training program, which started last month as an outgrowth of Zevon’s previous experiment, called “Bad Boy Bistro,”  will be charged with staffing dinners and planning and preparing the meals with Martlett’s guidance. On January 29, they’ll serve a seed-swap-themed meal — part of a monthly community meal series. Next month, look for a Valentine’s Day theme.