Dog eared copies of The Flavor Bible can be found in every chef’s kitchen. It is the definitive guide to pairing ingredients for building flavor profiles that work to make memorable dishes. It is easy to use, just look up an ingredient and it will tell you what are the best flavor combinations. Throughout the book are cooking tips from many of the nation’s top chefs. The book makes an excellent Christmas gift and it’s not to late to get one before Christmas from Amazon.
Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
16013 Waterfall Rd.
Haymarket, VA 20169
The stress of endless medical appointments, medications, and therapy wears on our Wounded Warriors draining almost every ounce of energy from them. Many plan and wait a month or more to come to the retreat for its promise of rest and relaxation. The drive from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to the retreat seems to take forever. In the final miles and as they turn into the driveway and see the retreat for the first-time thoughts of hospitals and therapy fade away.
They have seen the web page, read the brochure, and heard great things about the retreat from their Guest Stay Coordinator, but the best is yet to come. Most do not understand how hard retreat staff and volunteers work to give them the gift of memories of good times and normalcy. Memories of their first massage, their first helicopter ride, their first symphony concert, a professional photo shoot to capture the joy of a stress-free stay at the retreat as a family. One of the most memorable events of their stay is Visiting Chef Night on Sunday. Diner is prepared by world class chefs from around the region who volunteer to come to the retreat and prepare extraordinary meals for the families. Most families describe it as the best food they have eaten.
(L to R) PO2 Sierra Tyler, USN and FS1 Jason T. Rohrs, Coast Guard – Enlisted Aides/Chefs to General Joseph Dunford, the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with retreat Executive Event Chef Ken Gardner, Sous Chef Jim Cole, and a Warrior’s son.
In our mission to make the family’s stay special we created the Visiting Chef Program to introduce families to the restorative properties of fine food. We also believe it offers chefs a way to give back doing the thing they love and that they will quickly learn what many SOWW volunteers know, working with Wounded Warriors and their families is an extraordinarily rewarding experience.
Today we have 49 volunteer chefs from some of the finest restaurants. Besides restaurant and catering chefs, top military chefs have joined the program. They include FS1 Jason T. Rohrs, USCG Chef to General Joseph Dunford, the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CS1 Patrick Parigi, USN Chef to the Commander, Naval Reactors/Propulsion, CSC (SW) Matthew P. Susienka, USN Executive Chef to the Commander Naval Service Training Command, MSgt. Jennifer L Medeiros, USAF Chef to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and MSgt. Sarah L Morgan, USAF Chef to the Air Force Chief of Staff.
The success of the Visiting Chef Program is due to three chefs who contribute selflessly. Volunteer Staff Sous Chef Jim Cole is there assisting the visiting chef almost every Sunday. Volunteer Executive Event Chef Ken Gardner is the Lead Chef on every SOWW event and serves as a back-up Sous Chef. And Chef Benedict Zappone who has prepared meals for Warriors ten times. He comes out on dates where no other chef is available, like Mother’s Day and Christmas Day.
The Visiting Chef Program is much more than exceptional food. For countless families, it is an introduction to farm-to-table cuisine they are not likely to experience on their own. Many cannot afford dining at the chefs’ restaurants. Most of our Warrior guests suffer from PTS and have not been to a restaurant in years. The noise and commotion of a busy restaurant can overwhelm them. The Visiting Chef Program brings that personalized 5-star dining experience to them at the retreat.
Many Warriors and family members of all ages don an apron and love the opportunity to help and learn from the chef. The Visiting Chef Program strives to create fond memories that last a lifetime for the families. One of my favorite dinners was for the late Sergeant Scott Adkins who lost his battle with cancer not long after his family stayed at the retreat. The chef taught his daughters how to write with raspberry dessert sauce. I’ll never forget the smile that came to Sergeant Adkins face when his daughter put down his dessert and the plate read “My Daddy My Hero.” It’s not only the families receiving warm memories.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
21305 Windmill Parc Dr.
Dulles, VA 20166
On grand opening day more than 100 people were in line to get their amazing Bundt Cakes.
They have a host of flavors and sizes but the lemon and red velvet are my favorite. The cake is perfectly moist and flavorful. The frosting is smooth and not overly sweet.
The staff is super friendly and helpful.
There are always samples to try.
Nothing Bundt Cakes is a franchise based in Texas. This location is managed by Pastry Chef Emily Carter, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Before taking the helm at Nothing Bundt Cakes she was at the well known Red Truck Bakery in Marshall, VA.
You can never go wrong with buttercream frosting.
The bite-sized cakes they call Bundtinis make great desserts. They have 9 flavors and more than 40 designs in sizes that range up to 10 inches that feeds 18 to 20 people. The larger cakes make excellent gifts for special occasions or office parties.
20789 Great Falls Plaza
Sterling, VA 20165
Korean Cajun Fusion | $$
The restaurant is in a busy strip mall next to a Dunkin Donuts.
The menu is made of Korean Cajun small plates. This was a nice deviled egg with bacon and a house spice blend.
Korean Pot Roast Sliders with Kimchi’d Apples, Radish Sprouts, on a Fried Steamed Buns. The sweetness of the Kimchi’d apples pair nicely with the flavorful Korean Pot Roast. The crispy bun is a pleasant touch.
The Foie Gras Duck Dumplings with Braised duck, Sesame, Radishes, and a house-made Plum Sauce. This was hands down our favorite. The dumpling had a wonderful flavor and just the right crispiness. The braised duck was the best I have had. The plum sauce was delicious. On our next visit, I will ask for more so I can dip the dumpling.
The Cajun Cassoulet with Duck, Tasso, Sausage, Bacon, Tarbais Rouge Beans, Duck Fat and Herb Bread Crumbs topping was the most interesting dish of the night. It has a wide-ranging flavor profile starting with the duck fat bread crumbs and diving down into a mixture of Tasso ham, sausage, and bacon.
Shrimp & Roasted Garlic Grits with Chili, Shrimp, Butter, Scallions, and Lemon. The shrimp was cooked perfectly. The grits had a nice smooth texture and mild garlic taste. The crispy scallions gave the dish a pleasant crunch.
Fingerling Potatoes cooked in Duck Fat and Roasted Garlic.
For dessert my wife chose the Lemon Butter Mochi Cake & Raspberry Sorbet with a warm chewy rice cake with a touch of coconut, steen’s cane syrup. She really enjoyed this.
My dessert was the Beignets with Caramel Sauce. I would not order these again. The caramel was on the plate and I could not get much of it to transfer to the beignet. The cake was good but they were large and we took most of it home.
Fusion food can be gimmicky and is often disappointing. There is nothing disappointing about Mokomandy. Each plate was a well thought out blend of Korean and Cajun. Executive Chef Daniel Wilcox Stevens, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, creates some dishes more Korean and some more Cajun, resisting the temptation to play it safe with a faux fusion of Korean or Cajun only dishes. The service is excellent. I would recommend reservations since we were there on a Wednesday night and the tables filled quickly. The noise level was in the hard to hear range when the restaurant was completely full.
Here is a list of the 2017 Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington award winners. Congratulations to all the recipients.
New Restaurant of the Year: Hazel
Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: minibar by José Andrés
Chef of the Year: Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
Pastry Chef of the Year: Jemil Gadea, Masseria
Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Ryan Ratino, Ripple
Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Proof
Casual Restaurant of the Year: Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
Upscale Brunch of the Year: Convivial
Employee of the Year: Joseph Cassis, PassionFish Bethesda
Manager of the Year: John Grace, The Hamilton
Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: DC Brau Brewing Company
Restaurateur of the Year: Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, Ted Xenohristos, Brett Schulman, Cava Group, Inc.
Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Casual Brunch of the Year: Republic
Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: Cava Grill
Beer Program of the Year: Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Cocktail Program of the Year: Kapnos by Mike Isabella
Wine Program of the Year: Charlie Palmer Steak
Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: Acme Paper & Supply Co., Inc.
Service Program of the Year: The Source by Wolfgang Puck
2017 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards
Best New Restaurant
Outstanding Bar Program
Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Starr Restaurants (Le Coucou, Serpico, Upland, and others)
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Pocantico Hills, NY
Outstanding Wine Program
Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rising Star Chef of the Year
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Vernick Food & Drink
Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Sidney Street Cafe
Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs)
Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY State, RI, VT)
Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley
Eventide Oyster Co.
Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton and Greg Denton
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)
Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
2017 America’s Classics Awards
Owners: Julia Grant, Linda Pinckney, and Sharon Coakley
Owner: Alex Donley
Owner: Miguel Jara
Owners: Christine Sahadi Whelan, and Ron Sahadi
Schultz’s Crab House
Owners: Karen and Bob McKinney
2017 JBF Humanitarian of the Year
One World Everybody Eats
Salt Lake City
2017 JBF Lifetime Achievement Award
I have the distinct honor and privilege of volunteering at the Warrior Retreat at Bull Run. The retreat is a 2.5 million dollar 11,000 sq. ft. home on 37 acres in Haymarket, Virginia. We invite wounded Warriors and their families out from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital to spend 5 days out of the hospital and rehab environment.
I am the lead on the Visiting Chef Program. On Sunday night during each guest stay we invite chefs from the area to come out and prepare extraordinary meals for the wounded warrior and their family. Last night was the Warrior’s birthday dinner with 10 friends and family and I thought I would invite some special chefs.
Our Chefs from left to right:
Sierra Tyler, USN Assistant Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Warrior’s son, who learned how to be a Sous Chef
Jason Rohrs, USGC Chef to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Ken Gardner, Executive Event Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
Jim Cole, Resident Sous Chef Warrior Retreat at Bull Run
Each warrior completes an application to come to the retreat that includes about 20 food questions. Gluten free, allergies, spice tolerance, favorite dishes etc. The answers to the questions go to the Visiting Chef to help them design a 4 course meal.
The Warrior’s son learned what it was like to be a Sous Chef.
Filet Mignon is ready for searing and the oven.
Just about done searing and then into the oven.
There is always prep work.
Chicken Posole cooking.
Tortilla sliced up and crisped in vegetable oil.
Preparing the first course of Chicken Posole — Cilantro, Lime, Crema, and Tortilla Crisps
Plating the salad course.
Apple and Brussel Salad — Pecans, Shallots, Gorgonzola, and a Champagne Vinaigrette
Here comes the main course.
Filet Mignon — Mushroom Lasagna, Parsnip, Green Beans, and Demi-Glace
The birthday cake was created by Brenda Wilks with our amazing Bakers on Call Team. Bakers on Call are more than 30 volunteer home bakers who make sure the Warrior’s favorite fresh baked goods are waiting for them when they arrive for their stay. The Bakers on Call have just started supporting the Visiting Chef Program. Most of our chefs are savory with just basic pastry skills. We looked at increasing the involvement of our Baker’s on Call Team and they are now doing much of the custom dessert work for Visiting Chef Night. The Chef is welcome to make dessert if they like, but most of relieved not doing it.
Everyone had a great time and loved the food.
If you would like to see more pictures from this dinner and other Visiting Chef Night dinners visit our Flickr.com page. If you are a chef and would like to learn more about how you can volunteer and give back please see the Visiting Chef Program web page.