It’s no doubt that I’m an American chef. I love all American regional cuisines. I firmly feel that what we as Americans lack in centuries-old culinary traditions is more than made up by the amazing bounty of ingredients indigenous to the New World. Corn, chocolate, tomatoes, potatoes and many, many other ingredients used globally are indigenous to our Western Hemisphere. I have had many a “discussion” with European chefs about this. They may scoff at our relative youth as a culture and “melting-pot” cuisine, but they can’t deny our ingredients. I have even had the honor of representing our country in culinary contests in the past and proved to them that we American chefs cook more than fast food.
But in spite of all of this American culinary pride, I’ve always wanted to be…….French.
Actually, I am. A little. My family name has roots in Alsace, a region in France. This region also throughout history has been a part of Germany as well. The cuisine of this region is very Germanic, with pork, sausages, cabbage, root vegetables and mustard playing a large part. This is also the part of France that produces Riesling-like wine and the only beer worth drinking in France. In some way, maybe this miniscule part of my DNA that is French motivated me to become a chef, travel and study in France and ultimately teach French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu.
Most chefs’ are like sponges and absorb influences around them. We aren’t always the most creative; we just steal good ideas and make them our own. My trips to France have been very influential. The food markets, the wine and the history made a huge impact on a young cook from West Virginia. My cooking today at Honey Run reflects these travels. The food is American, but the techniques and combinations are definitely French.
So as we continue to evolve the culinary style of Honey Run, you may see a little French here and there. Maybe you already see a hanger steak, called onglet in France, with frites (French fries). Bearnaise sauce, which features black pepper and one of my favorite sweet herbs, tarragon, will absolutely be appearing on future menus. Souffle Glace, a frozen soufflé, is a very refreshing dessert for the summer and early fall. But have no fear Honey Run fans, there will be no snails showing up in the hamloaf!