The Oyster is my World

Consider the chef who sells raw oysters.

By and large, a chef wants to taste dishes, check the consistency of sauces, and tweak each plate of food that leaves the pass. A chef wants to be in control. A chef wants to put his or her stamp on products. A chef wants, to borrow a term from biz speak, to micromanage. A chef does not want to leave things to chance.

Return to Deep Run

Growing up I often felt like Thanksgiving was the only holiday my family did right. We lived too far out in the country to trick or treat properly, and for some reason, disappointment sat heavy in the air around Christmas. Easter always proved to be more about church than chocolate bunnies, and Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day were overshadowed by the urgency of summer on the farm. But Thanksgiving...the Howards excelled at Thanksgiving. On the third Thursday of November each year, we did what I felt like folks were supposed to do. We cooked, we gave thanks, we ate, we cleaned up, we napped. Then we ate again.

Sugar Plums Aside

As one of the most recognized and celebrated pastry chefs in the South, Tiffany MacIsaac shocked everyone—including herself—when she left her post with the Washington, DC-based Neighborhood Restaurant Group (the venerable team behind such wildly popular places as Birch & Barley and Bluejacket, among a dozen or so others) this past June after five successful years as executive pastry chef. Parting from what she labels a dream job, a place where they custom built her a fully outfitted-to-perfection kitchen and where she was able to exercise the full range of her confectionary talents by making everything from the most fussy of intricate desserts to the simplest “corner-store baked good,” of course raised the inevitable question: what irresistible opportunity would tempt this thirty-three-year-old sugar star away from such a great gig?

Reigning Champignon

Autumn cues the emergence of a subterranean kingdom. As misty, cooler air settles in, trees shed their leaves, carpeting the forest floor in shades of ochre and umber, to be pierced by the rising fruit of the underworld. Professional foragers, citizens, and adventurous chefs alike take to the woods to harvest nature’s bounty: the incredible, edible mushroom.