4 All Star Chefs Honor “Real Food”
Taste’s Root to Table closed the books on its 2021 culinary series on December 5th with four All-Star chefs honoring “real food” at the acclaimed Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, VA. Learn about the culinary creators behind the tasty dishes, their commitment to locally sourced ingredients, and the “farm chic” restaurant that served as the location.
All Star Chefs Honor “Real Food”
This exclusive Root to Table event, held at one of America’s first “farm to fork” restaurants, was inspired by the friendships of these gastronomic masters and their shared passion for locally sourced goodness. And diners experienced a unique opportunity to hear the chefs describe their dishes as well as their love for elevated “real food.”
Serving as host in the kitchen was Vincent Badiee, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. Chef Vincent was raised on a farm in Virginia and joining Patowmack earlier this year has returned him to his roots.
“Running a restaurant on a farm has been a dream of mine since I started this journey,” said the chef. “The ability to walk around and look at all the vegetables, fruits, and herbs and grab the freshest farm eggs … it’s incredible.”
Joining Chef Vincent in the Kitchen
Joining Chef Vincent were two other Taste of Blue Ridge Top Chefs, along with a special guest. In addition to Chef Vincent’s contributions, attendees also enjoyed appetizers and courses from Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin of The Polished Foxx, Chef Jan Van Haute of Hillbrook Inn & Spa, and Chef Tim Rowley of The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, VA.
Chef Erik, who provided the main course, is a regular at Root to Table and his farm-driven catering company just celebrated its first anniversary. Many Northern Virginia diners also know Chef Erik from his days at Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville.
Said Chef Erik, “For me, the excitement of the dinner is that it represents everything that I’ve envisioned, that the group (of chefs) envisioned for the region, as a ‘coming of age’ and it’s just really awesome to pull all of the farmers and all of the chefs that I respect into one event.”
More Great Culinary Talent
Chef Jan of Hillbrook is a recent addition to the Taste Top Chef roster. In fact, this was his Root to Table debut. Chef Jan took over the kitchen at Hillbrook Inn just a few months ago and is an ardent supporter of local farmers and food artisans as well as his fellow chefs.
When it comes to chefs collaborating, “I think it’s important to support and not hide from each other,” declared the classically trained chef. “The old French cuisine was like, secret, secret – keep your recipe for yourself. I think the more modern mindset of chefs is to share. And through that sharing, become more creative.”
Rounding out the flavorful foursome was Taste of Blue Ridge Guest Chef Tim Rowley of Leesburg’s popular The Wine Kitchen. Described Chef Erik, “Tim is a local guy who uses local farms, not much different from myself.”
Said the Taste Guest Chef, “I had an incredible time cooking with some of the areas best chefs. It was really great to step out of the restaurant and see what other chefs are doing. Chef Vincent and Beverly were amazing hosts and I really enjoyed working at such a beautiful venue like Patowmack.”
Taste of Blue Ridge Founder Nancy Craun welcomed dinner guests to start the dinner. “These chefs have been selected not just because they are fantastic with food. It’s also because each one truly demonstrates a commitment to local sourcing.”
A Mouth Watering, Locally Sourced Menu
Although the late afternoon was brisk, diners enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and stunning views on the terrace of Patowmack. All four chefs worked on the appetizers which included oysters, crispy duck provided by Maple Leaf Farms, braised oxtail, and even fresh eggs from Patowmack Farm. Guests paired their appetizers with a signature cocktail of Seasonal Switchel.
Chef Vincent started the four course dinner by tapping into his heritage with an Persian barley soup known as Ash-e-Jow. The earthy flavors included leeks, clams, and Virginia trout. After the delectable soup, Chef Tim presented one of his signature Italian dishes. His ravioli featured Nduja sausage and Burrata cheese with sage butter, winter vegetables, black truffles, and butter squash crema.
A Main Course from Virginia’s Pastures and Shore
To honor Virginia’s bounty, Chef Erik prepared a duo he called “Paturage et Rivage de Virginie” – of Virginia’s pastures and shore. Using award winning Black Angus from nearby Audley Farm, the accomplished chef prepared beef alouettes wrapped in pork from Shenandoah Valley’s Baker’s Farm.
An alouette, explained Chef Erik, is actually an old hunter’s dish which was usually prepared with game like goose and elk. His meat component was paired with a Chesapeake Bay blue crab terrine topped with fresh Virginia trout. Joining the plate were a creative sauce, a late fall vegetable fricassee, and gremolata.
A Salute to Belgium Chocolate
Topping off the four course meal was a salute to Belgium chocolate from Chef Jan. The dessert incorporated textures and sweet & sour flavors with pistachio nuts, cardamom, and orange. The dessert was composed of a chocolate mousse and soft sponge cake, then topped with edible gold and a free form dark chocolate treat.
“Farm Chic” at Patowmack
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm is best described as “farm chic”. It’s not a pretentious place. But with its delicious food, top flight service, and stunning views, it doesn’t need to be. Guests sat at long farm tables in Patowmack’s private dining room which resembled a greenhouse.
Established in 1986, Patowmack was one of the first certified organic farms in Virginia and the vision of Owner Beverly Morton Billand. This former nurse made the commitment to organic farming because of her desire for her family to eat healthy. The restaurant was opened in 1997 and it’s one of Open Table’s top DC restaurants for special occasions. And Northern Virginia Magazine just named Patowmack as one of its top dining recommendations.
“As one of the first farm restaurants in the United States, we are committed to serving food from the farm, other local farmers, and from artisan producers,” Ms. Billand assured. “Our philosophy is simple – quality produce, the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients, support for small local artisan growers and producers and creating a place where nature takes care of the details.”
Honoring the Farmers
The 4 top chefs honored the best “real food” from family farms. In addition to proteins from Maple Leaf, Audley, and Baker’s, the chefs used products from Loudoun County’s Root and Marrow Farm, Lydia’s Fields, and of course, Patowmack Farm. MK Robinson Co-Owner of Twin Ridge Orchards, just over in Jefferson County West Virginia, represented the Taste farm community as Goodwill Ambassador. She is one of Taste’s original partners and a frequent guest at Root to Table.
“The sense of compassion and community is palpable at the Root to Table Series,” summed up Allison Tucker Zito of Maple Leaf. “My first experience combined carefully sourced ingredients with the creativity of four renowned chefs. Each dish was more unique and exciting than the last. To top off the wonderful evening, there was great company, conversation, and cocktails. I’m appreciative of each person who made this evening possible and look forward to what the 2022 Root to Table Series brings not just to our palettes, but to the greater Blue Ridge Region.”
What’s next for Taste’s Root to Table
Taste of Blue Ridge is lining up the locations and chefs for 2022 and details will be announced soon. With the success of this “All-Star” event, there is definitely another dinner like it in the works. And there will be three other Root to Table events featuring multiple chefs, farmers, and food artisans. Root to Table is a regional celebration of locally sourced fine dining, Appalachian history, culture, and community.
Because of their popularity, Root to Table culinary experiences sell out quickly. Keep up with Root to Table by subscribing to Taste’s newsletter through the popup on the website. And be sure to follow this “real food” community on Facebook and Instagram.