Humility is an ingredient that is a staple in Chef Deb’s recipe for life. If you have ever met her you would know if you made her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich she would graciously thank you for your generosity. In a day and time of arrogant ill-tempered chefs, this is a chef who cooks, teaches, and lives a mantra of love, passion, empathy and a general sense of wide eyed appetite for life rivaled only by a toddler learning to walk.
Offered the amazing opportunity to cook for the 2017 Cape Fear Crafts and Cuisine in Wilmington, North Carolina, http://www.capefearcraftsandcuisine.com, Chef Deb stepped up to the plate with a VERY large bat and knocked it out of the park. Pairing up with local brewery Southern Pines Brewery (https://www.facebook.com/SouthernPinesBrewing/?rf=561345674031390), and their Black Currant De Vigne brew, she brought the heat with an Asian style and a kung fu punch to the taste buds.
Using only the best, Heritage farms pork cheek double braised in a szechuan reduction leaving the pork so tender and savory it cut with a plastic fork like homemade cheesecake. When I got to the prep kitchen and the list of veggies to be pickled I honestly had to look some of them up. It was a crash course in Asian vegetables 101 for this green culinary student. Watermelon radishes, Asian pears, pineapple, pickled to perfection. The flavor profile was as complicated and intriguing as Chinese arithmetic. Laid over a fluffy fresh jasmine rice this dish should just be entered in the dictionary under “UMAMI”.
Chef Deb never ceases to amaze. Her dishes remind us that life is too short not to break the rules once in a while. Sure she could have played it safe for an event this big and an opportunity like this, but she swung for the fences. This approach at food inspires and drives a lot of my own ventures in food. Keep an eye on Chef Deb and The Little Chef Food truck, everyone’s talking, and word on the street is, just like her szechuan pork cheek hitting your taste buds, she’s just warming up. Bon Appetit!