Whichever region you are in, Virginia has an impressive culinary scene, with dozens of notable chefs creating inspired dishes from locally sourced ingredients that bring together the best of the Commonwealth's flavors in unique, delicious ways. To showcase the best food in Virginia, we spoke to a few of these chefs, from the award-winning seasoned professionals to the rising stars who have garnered attention in national and even international publications. Follow our "Inside the Kitchen" series as we take a look at all that Eat.Drink.LOVE has to offer in Virginia!
As Chef and Director of Food and Beverage of the Tides Inn, a waterfront resort in a unique location where the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail and Virginia Oyster Trail meet, Truman Jones leads the resort's four multifaceted culinary activities, including more over 20 years of industry expertise and a passion to support local and coastal suppliers. Jones's style has been described as regional, seasonal and artisanal and reflects Virginia's rich culinary culture. “My vision for the resort is to give the Tides Inn a sense of place by taking advantage of the resort's access to Virginia's remarkable farming traditions and proximity to Chesapeake Bay – the nursery of the Atlantic,” says he.
Photo Credit: Kate Thompson
Jones will join the Tides Inn team in Fall 2020, elevating guests' epicureans by creating thoughtful dishes inspired by the resort's unique location and timeless heritage. He oversees the menu development, culinary programming and daily operations of the resort's coastal restaurant, Fish Hawk Oyster Bar, which offers a selection of coastal classics, outdoor oyster roasts, and a raw bar with a rotation of locally sourced oysters; newly revitalized Chesapeake Restaurant and outdoor patio, featuring a new table cocktail service, private dining experience with a view and sweeping views of Carter’s Creek; and an all new Chef & # 39; s Kitchen concept, with interactive programming and cooking classes. Jones is committed to nurturing a relationship with the local community and works with chefs and wineries along the Virginia Wine Trail to not only improve culinary programming at the resort, but also put Irvington, Virginia on the map as a culinary destination with the Tides Inn as a thought guide.
Photo Credit: The Tides Inn
Prior to joining the Tides Inn team, Jones held the title of Executive Chef at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, where he also used local ingredients, including the Ojai pixie, to elevate his signature regional, seasonal and artisan style. Prior to his time at Ojai Valley Inn, Jones held the roles of executive chef at Lake Placid Lodge (NY) and Ventana Inn & Spa (CA), respectively. When not in the kitchen, Jones enjoys fitness and outdoor activities with his wife, playing and grilling both acoustic and electric guitars with a glass of Virginia bourbon in hand – a family tradition.
Want to know more about The Tides Inn and Chef Jones? Read on to learn about some of his chef secrets, followed by one of Chef Jones' favorite recipes!
Do you have a few go-to producers, farms or other suppliers where you'd rather get your local ingredients from?
I am new to the area but I quickly learn that this is a place rich in local produce and produce. Whether it be Yellow House Farms eggs, Dug In Farms vegetables, Rappahannock oysters, Mushroom Farm mushrooms or many other major producers and growers, the Northern Neck and surrounding area represent the abundance and diversity that makes Virginia a special place. make space.
What are your favorite Virginia flavors?
There are too many to pick a favorite. Virginia Country Ham biscuit, crab cake with a Virginia sparkling wine, local oysters with a local brew, Chesapeake rockfish, shrimp and grits, chess pie, the list goes on. My wife's favorite thing in the world is ice cream, so I'm going to say a waffle cone, which is made in Virginia, is at the top of our list.
What is your favorite thing to cook for yourself?
My favorite thing is anything that requires little to no cleanup! That's why I love to grill and that's what my wife and I usually prepare for dinner. We like to season and grill meat or fish with some vegetables and serve over green salads and cooked grains. Here's our spice mix we use:
- ¼ cup of Hungarian paprika
- ¼ cup of ground cumin
- ½ cup of chili powder
- ½ cup of garlic powder
- ¼ cup of onion powder
- ¼ cup of dried thyme
- ½ cup of Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ cup of light brown sugar (optional)
- ¼ cup of ground black pepper
- Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
Which Virginia wine, specialty beer, cider or cocktail would you combine with that?
I prefer to drink a cocktail while cooking at home. It's a family tradition to have a bourbon (or two!) While grilling. So I would have a horse neck with Copper Fox rye. That's Copper Fox Rye with a few pinches of bitters and a spicy ginger ale. A slice of lemon zest, or just a slice of lemon, is a nice garnish.
Recipe for horse neck cocktail
- 2 oz Copper Fox Rye
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Ginger beer to the top
- Lemon zest or lemon wedge for garnish
* Looking for a different cocktail recipe? Try your hand when making the Lancaster lemonade, a specialty for the Tides Inn.
What's your favorite vacation spot in Virginia?
I am so new to Virginia and excited to discover. At this point, I have to say my favorite is the Tides Inn; Its waterfront location, charming inn and storied 1947 past make it an inviting retreat in the Northern Neck Region. Plus, I really enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains, as I visited them in Tennessee and North Carolina, so I'm sure I'll love them in Virginia too.
Chef Recipe Spotlight: Baked Rappahannock Oysters "Chesapeake"
Photo Credit: Kate Thompson
- 4-6 tablespoons roasted garlic béchamel sauce (recipe below)
- 6 each Rappahannock oysters
- ¼ cup of Chesapeake Bay lump crabmeat
- 1 tablespoon of cooked bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 °. Carefully scoop the oysters and separate the oyster from the shell, leaving it in the bottom shell. Put aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the crabmeat, chopped bacon, chopped parsley and parmesan cheese. Once mixed, scoop a generous portion onto each oyster in the bowl. Place the oysters on a heat resistant pan and bake in the oven at 400F until you can see the sauce bubbling and starting to turn golden brown; about 5-8 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and enjoy!
Roasted Garlic Bechamel Sauce
"This recipe yields more than it takes for the oysters – about ½ gallon of sauce."
- 4 ounces of butter
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 pint of vegetable stock
- 1.5 pints of cream
- 1 cup of roasted garlic puree, approx
- 15-20 cloves
- ½ tablespoon of salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp nutmeg, grated
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until frothy.
- Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook the roux for 2-3 minutes and then add the stock and cream. Beat to dissolve the roux in the liquid.
- Turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the garlic puree and herbs and beat to combine. Let this mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and when cool, store in an airtight cooler until needed.
Looking for more incredibly tasty recipes from Virginia's top chefs? Stay tuned for more Inside the Kitchen articles and check out these other articles in the Chef series: