At the end of the day its all just food…..

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HIATUS

1. A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break: “We are likely to be disconcerted by . . . hiatuses of thought” (Edmund Wilson).
2. Linguistics A slight pause that occurs when two immediately adjacent vowels in consecutive syllables are pronounced, as in reality and naive.

Blogging is calling me in a time of silence

I been away from Blogging for a while and while being very busy i also felt that this hiatus had been instrumental and Cathartic for me . It also allowed me to devote much needed energy into a new project that i have the unique fortune to be part of and continue to .While this is very true it also made me realize that Bloging was another very necessary personal way of expression and my unique way of displaying my work , my successes and failures and allowed me to grow and be fundamentally intellectual with the aspects of life that influence my existence .

This over extended stay, this pause was necessary and proved to have a clean slate effect . New ideas have formed, plans had been set in concrete and like i mentioned i been very very busy working in a new project with some very very cool people some old heros and some new ones that made it my way.

This Hiatus while cathartic was also instrumental into giving me a new approach into life but also reminded me that while away this blog was still my open air journal , my way to air my thoughts in my own words in my own unique way.

This is my way to come back into familiar grounds once again . It always been about the food and it always will be …and here today it starts again…

Sakura

Sean Brock and HUSK on top of the world…


Here is what Bon appetit magazine said while placing husk on top of their list of great new restaurants:

“Brock isn’t reinventing Southern food or attempting to create some citified version of it. He’s trying to re-create the food his grandma knew — albeit with the skill and resources of a modern chef. As a result, he (and Husk) has become a torchbearer for an honest style of home cooking that many of us never truly tasted until now.”

Could i agree more? Great chefs ,make great food , that make great restaurants … Its that simple

Congratulations Sean and Travis and Team HUSK , you guys deserve it…

Chefs tattoos…

If you really love the pig....


yeah... knives baby...

sometimes its not about the food...

Just a few tattoos from friends and people that i came across that “wear” the colors proud … The one really missing is Chefs Sean Brock Tattoo that i seen in 3 parts before it was actually completed a while ago. Its an impressive art piece that really spell all about Sean and worths a separate post and mention… Maybe its time for some Charleston…

Cameron winery Dinner with John Paul @ Local roots….

I will be the first one to tell you : Not everything works all the time … Sometime back a while ago i started this blog to record the journey and the people i came across ,the great culinary adventure into the north and the south , hopefully the east and west…

But like i said not everything works all the time … Despite the difficulties in the process perseverance prevails and everything finally comes together… This was something that we been looking forward for a while and it finally came together : Our first wine dinner at Local Roots ….

Everyone can tell you: Most chefs despite being encyclopedic about food knowledge ,for the most part don’t have extensive knowledge of wine.
Creating food for a wine dinner was a whole new experience to me… I had the distinct honor and fortune to work at Local roots where wine is as important to food and it has been really a blessing having staff on board that cares about wine and food … Doing a dinner with one of the best wine makers though from Oregon can really make you nervous… Especially when the wine you tasting is evolving with every step of the process…

We tasted :

Cameron “Abbey Ridge” chardonay 2008 Oregon

Cameron “Clos electrique” Blamc 2008 Oregon

Cameron “Clos electrique” Rouge 2008 Oregon


Cameron “Arleys Leap ” Pinot noir 2008 Oregon

Not shown in this sequence was a Cameron “Clos Electrique” Rouge 2001 Oregon

We tasted and tasted and every time new things came to mind , spices , textures, aromas… By the end of the tasting we have decided that we should brainstorm a few ideas but before that we should focus on each wine individually and the structure of the menu ..

The menu was a little more challenging at first but then ideas started coming through as soon as we saw what Mikuni and Fresh Origins send us… Needless to say it was like Christmas allover again…

The sequence and format of the dinner would remain the same as well , as for our guest chef dinners , a small introduction after passed small bites -amuse bouche- with the wine maker giving his thoughts and dinner to follow , course after course..

Amuse bouche …

John Paul made the introductions and was there to talk individually about each wine as the dinner progressed…

Then the dinner unfolded …

I

Hamachi crudo
Benne seed , lychee, Hearts of palm, pickled orchids

II

Roasted Scallops
Butterscotch miso,Bentons ham dashi, Maitake, wild spring onion

III

Trio of Rabbit
Farro Piccollo , Beets , Dandelions, pea shoots, fiddlehead ferns

IV

Lamb Loin wrapped in LR Lardo
Foraged lettuces and wild onions, Abalone mushrooms, leeks, lamb jus

V

Assortment of Cheese
Sweet Grass Dairy Camembert, split creek farm goat, Ash county Blue

We always accommodate customers even on special dinners with vegetarian options as well the most notable one though was this beautiful matsutake we seared then roasted in the wood fire oven and paired with wild foraged greens ….

The energy behind these dinners is something amazing … When you have so much talent and dedication around you, and the respective audience to showcase your food ,something extraordinary happens , its that feeling when every little step of the process comes together and the picture is finally complete …its an amazing feeling and chefs love every moment of it …

We are really blessed and humbled with having a great winemaker that captivated and inspired us with his words and truly made this dinner memorable …
This was our first Wine dinner and we are looking forward to even more in the future as well …

Thank you John Paul and Cameron Winery for the Honor….

Local Roots & Chefs Collaborative Earth day dinner ….

Chefs Collaborative is the leading nonprofit network of chefs that’s changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions.
First a few things about Chefs Collaborative as stated in their website….

chefs collaboratives goals are as follows:

Cultivate a vibrant community to develop and share best practices.
Provide educational and informational resources to the professional food service and culinary community.
Build a strong membership base of hundreds of members across the country.

The Mission is simple:

Chefs Collaborative works with chefs and the greater food community to celebrate local foods and foster a more sustainable food supply. The Collaborative inspires action by translating information about our food into tools for making knowledgeable purchasing decisions. Through these actions, our members embrace seasonality, preserve diversity and traditional practices, and support local economies.

In their website there is also a Statement of Principles:

1. Food is fundamental to life, nourishing us in body and soul. The preparation of food strengthens our connection to nature. And the sharing of food immeasurably enriches our sense of community.

2. Good food begins with unpolluted air, land, and water, environmentally sustainable farming and fishing, and humane animal husbandry.

3. Food choices that emphasize delicious, locally grown, seasonally fresh, and whole or minimally processed ingredients are good for us, for local farming communities, and for the planet.

4. Cultural and biological diversity are essential for the health of the earth and its inhabitants. Preserving and revitalizing sustainable food, fishing, and agricultural traditions strengthen that diversity.

5. By continually educating themselves about sustainable choices, chefs can serve as models to the culinary community and the general public through their purchases of seasonal, sustainable ingredients and their transformation of these ingredients into delicious food.

6. The greater culinary community can be a catalyst for positive change by creating a market for good food and helping preserve local farming and fishing communities.

Our vision: As a result of our work, sustainable practices will be second nature for every chef in the United States.

We have found our vision in sync and on time with chefs collaborative efforts and we are very proud that the only restaurant that made this collaborative dinner in the state of Virginia but also confident that will see a lot more restaurants participating in the years to come …

Mise en place

Dandelion greens foraged from our backyard...

Golden beets...

pak choi flowers...

dandelion flowers

A new discovery .... making crispy collards..

And dandelions can crisp perfectly as well ...

Arugula flowers....

chive flowers...

There are so many pristine fresh ingredients available to us i could possibly dedicate post after post on them … our idea of the dinner was to source at least 90 percent or more from the surrounding area ,and go no further than 80-100 miles …

We are fortunate to have foragers , farmers and producers knocking on our door constantly so we have been working hard building relationships with them through the past year … And for this event we wanted to showcase 2 local farms and all local wild foraged or locally produced ingredients and this really worked better than we expected…
Our Trout came from Big Pine Trout provisions and our pork belly for this dinner came from . Nate came through with beautiful rhubarb , dandelions, wild flowers and herbs as well as a number of foraged greens for the salad. Our eggs came locally as well as all the butter and milk …Even the bread was made using flours from the Old Guildford mills in Virginia..
So our first goal was successful .. But most people dont understand the concept of the earth day dinner yet ,and being the first in town to do a dinner of that kind certainly left us uncertain as to what we should expect. We were very surprised by the events that followed that uncertainty .

First we had a group of talented singers from Singers of United Lands a non profit organization that requested if we would be interested in allowing them to sing for the earth day dinner in our restaurant as their tour stop . We couldn’t had been more happy and fortunate to do so.. Then, as the day progressed ,more and more people filled the reservation book and we had a great evening at the restaurant .

Our salad of foraged greens, watercress dandelions violet leaves and flowers pak choi and mustard flowers paired with beets pickled and roasted and Curtons dairy goat cheese …

Pork belly cured and shaved between fresh trout from Big Pine Trout poato tuille , crispy trout skin collards pommes puree sea grass from Fresh Origins and a melange of local foraged and farmed mushrooms and crispy collard chips…


Panna cotta with rhubarb local farmars dairy cream , dehydrated rhubarb , rhubarb apple compote , violet syrup and violet sorbet…

Well we where pleasantly surprised from the turnout and the support we found along the way and we are definitely expect to continue our support to a noble cause and also establish earth day dinners for the years to come as a celebration of food, farms and people.

Presentation is important…

Another genius way to utilize some salvaged materials that came to our attention… This is hard pine hand rubbed and treated with mineral oil to preserve its natural beauty …

We are very happy with the way these turned out and looking into incorporating even more organic elements and natural materials as vessels or elements to complete our presentations…

LR Garden…

We have been working on our garden to get this project going for a while and we are very excited to work on this project as it allows as to have a more round knowledge of all the steps in the process and care that goes into our food .

In the next 2 weeks we are racing to set up all of our schedule to accomodate planting and caring for this project and we will continue to explore new possibilities that this will bring along the way..

storm door conversion....

rhubarb

tarragon ,parsle,thyme and chives for first run... a lot more herbs in the works...

brocolli

Mark Kary getting plants on the ground...

We have been fortunate enough to have this space close to our restaurant and very luck that we have a number of people tending and donating all kinds of materials from compost and mulch to tools seeds , plants and even volunteer to help along the way…

Every time the garden comes around we see more and more people being excited with what we are excited and this couldn’t be a better affirmation to our vision and a better confirmation to the progress we have made..

A special thank you to all of our friends that donated materials, seeds, plants and hard work especially Mark Kary , Nate Sloan, our friend Michelle that boosted our composting needs with more coffee grounds from her business and all of those who continue to support and help our projects along the way…

CHARCUTERIE ….

We have been curing meat and making sausage for a few months now and its a really exciting time for us as we have started seeing more projects coming to beautiful results. Here is a list of all the things we have on the works back to back…

Chorizo

Our first batch of house cured smoked bacon

pancetta

lardo first batch

Also working their way slowly

Lonzino 2nd batch

soppersatta

coppa

As we get more comfortable with the actual curing ,fermenting and sausage making process we are looking into making some more fermented sausages and we have been toying around with the idea of some house made prosciutto as well (even though we get our hands to some of the best in the country)…

Dishes from the LR Kitchen…..

We have been working hard but also having tons of fun in the kitchen , cooking , meditating, exchanging ideas, plating food …. Working at Local Roots is a lot of collaboration, communication and interaction along with a few challenges ,none other than good old restaurant fun…

Here is a selection of dishes we been running and evolving during the past few months at local roots and in no particular order…

Oysters on the half shell ...

Foie gras ...

textures of beets...

razor clams...

Scallops and cauliflower...

Rainbow trout sunchoke...
Rainbow trout sunchokes…


lamb shoulder from Craig rogers pears 2 ways / carolina gold rice middlings / natural jus…


Border Springs farm lamb roulade / winter vegetables


pork belly tasting…

slow cooked egg apples/ foraged greens / farro ice cream …


Anson Mills pencil cob grits/ slow cooked egg/ braised romaine

These represent some of the things we have been cooking in the past 4 months but there are a lot more ideas that made it in plates since that i will try to record and represent .

For Blood Bones and Butter (or why we really like Gabrielle Hamilton) …

Is was gonna be a really easy post .. A post about how Gabrielle Hamilton came to Roanoke on this book tour , saw old friends and ate the lamb we put on the spit and charcuterie from our cellar and all these little things but right now , today, at this moment that i am typing these words i find it hard to actually describe any of the beauty and greatness of Gabrielle Hamilton .

I thought i was gonna go on and on about how Gabrielle really magnetizes you with her no nonsense persona. I am not .I thought i was gonna take rows of pictures of her and the surroundings .I didnt . I must admit that simply conversing is much more efficient and straightforward especially when you talk to someone thats been in your shoes and its so more captivating when that someone actually listens and is not bored BY WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY .

Gabrielle is simply amazing and it makes me wonder if her book was published before Tony Bourdains kitchen confidential, what would we be looking today … Not that i am bashing Tony… Tony is cult and there is a great reason for that , but i think this might be the time , a time where chefs like Gabrielle give their own perspective about food and life in the kitchen and beyond that…

On a note i would like to thank Josh Smith for making this happen and Mark Baldwin from Blue Ridge catering that really help us with this event and as always the crew at Local roots for their dedication .. And a special shout to kyle Wilkerson for coming out to join in the fun and work hard again while stagging at LR. Kyle we are humbled once more…

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