In order to fully embrace spring, the Think Tasty crew has decided to interview chefs across the USA to learn more about their spring menus. Each of these chefs has graciously shared sneak peeks of their spring-only menu items. Even if the weather is chilly and gray where you are, these seasonal highlights should add a little warmth and vibrancy.
We start our interview series with Chef Steven Snook, Executive Chef at the Kenwood Inn and Spa, located in Kenwood, California. The menu which Chef Snook has shared with us is the April prix fixe menu, aptly titled Ode to Asparagus.
Chilled asparagus soup, shaved asparagus, fresh mint
Grilled asparagus, poached Wise Acre Farms eggs, red wine smoked bacon, morels, Sausalito watercress
Lemon and Raspberry Sorbetto
Braised Lamb Shoulder Ravioli, green and white asparagus, English peas, fava beans, garden spinach, braising jus
Caramelized banana tiramisu
TT: As this is the April menu, is it safe to assume that you update your prix fixe menu monthly?
CS: Every month we change the focus of the menu. It is based around an ingredient I’d like to use or one that is coming. I started working here three months ago. The first prix fixe menu I created here was in February, which was an aphrodisiac menu in honor of Valentine’s Day.
TT: Which prix fixe menu item is your favorite for April?
CS: The grilled asparagus. I think it is a nice way to utilize the ingredients.
TT: Being in wine country, do you offer pairings to compliment the prix fixe?
CS: Yes, the wines change every month to suit the dishes.
TT: About what percentage of the produce is locally sourced?
CS: About fifty percent comes from our garden. There are two gardens, as we are attached to a winery. We have a half acre at the winery. The peas, fava beans, lettuce, and asparagus are local but not at our gardens. We try to get everything locally. For example, one of the therapists at the spa has a chicken farm with 500 birds. They are raised organically, never caged. These chickens provide the eggs for the inn. Another example is the lamb shoulder, which is raised in Sonoma.
TT: Can you tell us what the theme for May will be?
CS: I try to wait until the second week of the month to determine what next month will be. I am trying to get used to the seasons after working in New York City and London.
TT: What makes your prix fixe menus unique?
CS: Lots of things. Being European and bringing that background to America makes me unique because of my styling. We are able to take so much from the property itself: herbs, lettuces, produce. Some days we are picking it literally twenty minutes before preparing it, which gives a nice edge on how fresh our food is.
A lot of restaurants talk about being farm to table or garden to table. We are people to table. I know the owner of the egg layers, Raina. Because of this I know that she has a chicken, named Silky, that lays green eggs. Being people to table we are able to give more love, passion, connection.