For last week’s chef interviews in our summer produce series, we stayed within the state of Pennsylvania. This week, our first article is a short hour and a half drive, only one state away. Thus, we are starting in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with an interview of Chef Marilyn Schlossbach, who is Executive Chef and owner of Dauphin Grille.
Chef Schlossbach is the owner of six restaurants along the New Jersey coast. Dauphin Grille’s menu focuses on coastal Mediterranean and American fare and utilizes farm-fresh ingredients.
TT: Tell me about your Farm to Table philosophy
CS: We have our own garden that is 2,000 square feet and is on property. We’re currently growing greens, such as rainbow chard, collard, arugula, lettuce, and kale, herbs, tomatoes, raspberries. My twins have a baby garden. We also grow lemongrass, lemon verbena, and medicinal plants to keep bugs away.
TT: What local produce items are being used in your dishes currently?
CS: Every menu in every location has an eco dish, which is daily fish special that is sustainably caught and served with local produce. All of our restaurants do farm to table salad throughout the year. We have local produce all year. We visit the Carousel Farmers Markets from June to October, get a lot of stuff from farmers at market. We will buy the rest of the product from a farmer, so they don’t have to carry it home. That has helped build a relationship. We have multiple locations so can buy all of the extra.
TT: Have you created any special menu items that highlight the local produce?
CS: We are running an eggplant stack that consists of New Jersey eggplant, tomatoes, and goat cheese, which is served cold. We pan fry the eggplant and stack the eggplant, tomato, and pesto that we make with basil and black garlic.
TT: As you include seasonal produce in your menu, how often do you change your regular or special menu items?
CS: The eco item changes daily depending on how busy we are. Thursdays we get farmers market ingredients, and on Fridays we get produce from Zone 7. These items last through the week.
TT: What makes your menu/restaurant unique?
CS: Our restaurants are inspired by our travels. My husband and I are surfers; thus, our travel is mostly to locations that have surf. I am a self-taught chef, I don’t really have traditional boundaries to what I think works. Items on the menu are never traditional, makes it interesting. I am a chef from flavor. I like to meet locals who make recipes from generations of their families, culture. There’s nothing better than a grandmother teaching you to make something. Our menu is inspired by the love of food. We have 7,000 square foot restaurant. It is tough to do farm to table with that much volume.
Food should never be boring; it shouldn’t lack inspiration from your heart. I tell my chefs to think, What would Marilyn do to throw more love into that dish? Love equals color and flavor. Food should be fun. People should remember where food come from. Farmers are an intricate part of our food process. They work hard and are a lost art. I’m glad to see trend has brought farmers back to the forefront.
Photo courtesy of Marc Steiner of Agency New Jersey.