This past weekend I was invited to a little expo put on by Cadillac. For whatever reason, Cadillac decided they would celebrate their new crossover by inviting Chef Todd Gray of Equinox to do a cooking demo. Equinox happens to be my favorite fancy restaurant in DC, so I was thrilled to attend. Equinox has been featuring local foods since before it was a movement. I was very excited to get to interview Chef Gray after the show.
We had a lovely conversation about local and seasonal foods. Alas, my iPhone has decided to choke when I try to play back the audio recording I made of the interview, so I am sans transcript. But I can say that Chef Gray is as personable and knowledgeable as his food is exquisite.
I asked him about the foods he thinks are the real highlights of the Mid-Atlantic region. He said that it’s true that this area may not be identified with a particular food in the way that, say, Maine is identified with lobsters, but there are still a lot of great regional foods that he loves to showcase in his restaurant. Local sweet corn, Maryland blue crab, Surrey ham, and Chincoteague oysters were among his favorite local foods. He also said that some enterprising growers in North Carolina and Tennessee have begun to cultivate black truffles domestically (though he also said that Italian truffles, especially the whites, are in a class of their own). When I asked about what ingredients he was most looking forward to this autumn, he raved about chestnuts and kabocha squash. Despite the difficulty in getting chestnuts out of their shells, he said chestnut soup would be totally worth it. Now I have a new culinary project for fall.
Locavores, make sure you get to Equinox sometime. And say hi to the chef!