Our final chef interview from Pennsylvania features Chef Steve Waxman of Trax Restaurant & Café in Ambler. Not only does this chef procure ingredients from local farms, he also has a garden on the restaurant property. This garden provides vegetables and herbs for the restaurant and has received the “Community Greening Award” from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Another unique feature for Trax is that it is located in an old train station. Serving dinner Tuesday through Saturday nights, this restaurant is sure to amaze its diners with its fresh ingredients, charming atmosphere, and excellent dishes.
TT: What are you growing at the restaurant?
CW: Tomatoes (6-7 varieties of heirlooms, such as brandywine and green divas); peppers, both hot (hungarian) and bell; herbs, oregano, rosemary, thyme, chervil, basil. Some things do better year to year. We also grow pumpkins, sunflowers, zucchini.
TT: What local produce items are you using to supplement your garden?
CW: From a local farm, we get tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, squash, peaches. We also purchase items at the Farmers Market.
TT: Have you created any special menu items that highlight the local produce?
CW: We have a set menu. One of the items that highlights the produce is a lobster special with fettuccine, fresh tomato sauce, local onions. This week we also are assembling a ratatouille. We will use it as a pasta special with something else.
TT: As you include seasonal produce in your menu, how often do you change your regular or special menu items?
CW: We probably keep a core menu of six to eight items and change the menu as we see fit.
TT: Do you work with any farms in particular?
CW: Maple Acres Farm.
TT: What makes your menu/restaurant unique?
CW: We’ve been at it for 15 years. We have forty-five seats inside and thirty outside. Another chef and I put everything together. Everything is from scratch, and we use local ingredients. We have the ability to change things. If pricing is an issue, we move to something else. We have forty or fifty years of experience between us. We have definite standards on what we buy and what we serve.