Ingredients are the essence of cooking. There is nothing more important in great cooking than finding the best ingredients that you can, then applying the best technique to present the ingredients so that they can shine brightest. Sometimes the technique is simple, sometime it is complex, but at the heart of our work, chefs should show truly GREAT ingredients and find pride and passion in searching out the very best products to work with. Greatness begets itself, thus, I proudly enjoy the relationships I have with Farmers, Fishers, Foragers, Ranchers and all the amazing people that produce the food I create with.
Amy Dietrich owns Frog Hollow Farms in Walla Walla, WA. She is as passionate about what she grows and the land she works on as anyone I have ever met. A year ago, I returned from a trip to New York, dining at Blue Hill Farm and Betony, where I tasted a small, beautiful, sweet and dense version of butternut squash, called a honeynut. I called Amy and told her how sweet and amazing it was and she knew immediately why I wanted a local version. A year later, Amy presented us with Walla Walla grown honeynut squash! They are thin-skinned, sugary, dense in texture and have an absolutely beautiful flavor. We were off to the Infierno in moments, charring, ash roasting, smoking, pan roasting in butter, slow roasting above coals and herbs – you name it. We decided to play with popped grains, custards, and ash roasting the whole squash and slicing it into wedges. What an experience and what a flavor!