After our wonderful meal at Dish we had a chance to ask Chef Jenna a few questions
1. What attracted you to cooking?
I have always been enamored with what happens over a dinner table. It brings me much pleasure to create a meal that brings people together, nourishing the body, feeding the soul and the relationships of those dining together.
2. What is the philosophy behind your cooking, or in your kitchen?
Simplicity in everything. I have never been one to "dress up" a plate with tricked out garnishes and sauces that weigh down the flavors and take minutes to plate. I love fresh food and am heavily influenced by vegetables. I am proud of the fact that I make lots of great vegetarian dishes in which you won't even miss the meat.
In the kitchen... happy,passionate chefs make great food. We listen to good music when we prep and allow our individual personalities to shine through in the dishes. The best time to eat at dish is when someone in the kitchen is falling in love...
3. What is the biggest influence on the way you cook?
The seasons. Our menu changes all the time, and the biggest influence is what is fresh and in season. The only time you'll see corn at dish is when ears from Olathe are fresh, and you'll see it on a at least a few dishes. As it gets colder, my body craves braised meats and richer flavors. When it heats up, the crab is chilled and the watermelon comes out... I like the ingredients to drive the menu, not the other way around.
4. Is there a chef living today you would like to work with?
I have always, always been a huge fan of Alice Waters, and even after all these years would be so honored to spend time with her in the garden and the kitchen.
I'd also love to hang out over the stove with David Chang.
5. Is there a particular ingredient you like to cook with more than others?
Bacon. I am a total whore for the pig.
6. If stuck on a desert isle and could have one meal from then on out what would it be?
Gnocchi. I could eat it every single day of my life.
7. Is someone asked you for two Colorado restaurants to try other than your own what would you suggest?
Fruition is my absolute favorite. The food created by the hands of those men behind the line makes me very happy...
I'd be lying if I said I didn't eat at least one (rare, no cheese) Larkburger a week, so I guess it is another one of my favorites that I just can't live without.
8. How about one restaurant anywhere in the world?
Any hole in the wall in Italy. The smaller and more out of the way, the better. I have had some of my best meals of my life in small trattorias that I could never find again...
9. Would you be willing to share a recipe with us?
Absolutely. I always share recipes, food is meant to be shared and enjoyed by everyone. I consider it a huge compliment when a guest enjoys a meal so much that they would like to re-create a dish again.
Warm Autumn Kamut Salad
2 cups kamut, uncooked
5 cups water, boiling (season with 1 tsp. kosher salt)
1/2 ea yellow onion, diced
3 ea garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ea small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced 1/4"
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pinenuts, lightly toasted
1 ea fresh lemon, zested to taste
kosher salt and black pepper
Rinse kamut and place in pot with boiling water, reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook until tender, but slightly chewy (1- 1 1/2 hours), add more water as necessary, meanwhile lightly toss squash in 1 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on sheetpan.
Roast squash in 350* oven until soft (about 15 minutes).
Saute onions and garlic over meduim heat in 1 tbsp of olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes
Mix all ingredients (kamut, squash, onion mixture, 1 tbsp olive oil, remaining ingredients). together while warm.
Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper, serve.
Chef/ Owner dish restaurant
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