Letter from the Editor: Virginia Is for Chefs Vol: 117

December 2014
Will Blunt
Will Blunt, Managing Editor

Photos

It’s been four years since we've visited Virginia, and we weren’t the only ones going back to the Commonwealth. Virginia has become fertile ground for chefs coming home, bringing their experiences from some of the country’s best kitchens and infusing it with Virginia product and history.

Ian Boden of The Shack in Staunton is mashing up his New York training with the foodstuffs of his home state to come up with fanciful and flavor-walloping dishes like his pretzel gemelli with French’s mustard and Edward’s Surryano ham. Chefs like Austin Fausett of Trummer’s on Main in Clifton and Joe Sparatta of Heritage in Richmond returned to define what mid-Atlantic cuisine can and should be. Others like Harrison Keevil of Brookville Restaurant in Charlottesville are giving comfort food an upgrade—think fried chicken with kim kim sauce; creamy scrambled eggs; and fried green tomatoes.

The artisan community is leading its own revolution. At The Rock Barn in Arrington, Benjamin Thompson's trailblazing Porkshare program is introducing the larger community to the glory (and value) of offcuts. And brother-sister team Evrim and Evin Dogu of Sub Rosa Bakery is building a bread culture in Richmond with their house-milled wheats, deeply browned loafs, and wood-fired cooking. 

Virginia chefs are proudly supporting each other and the larger network of cooks they belong to. Leaders the likes of Lee Gregory of The Roosevelt and Owen Lane of The Magpie are hosting industry take over nights for charities and pop-ups for new comers to try out their ideas. Chefs and artisans here are creating a new, vibrant culinary community full of camaraderie and gumption.

The Old Dominion opened itself to us this summer, generously sharing the new identity it’s carving out through its people and products. We were welcomed with open arms and piles of comforting food that showed us what the region—and the industry—are really all about—hospitality and community.  

Cheers!
Will
Will Blunt
Managing Editor