For many things in the life, the simplest way to do something is often the best way.
That’s exactly the way we cook at The Capitol Grille, Nashville’s only Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. We use simple cooking techniques to accentuate the natural flavors given to us by Mother Nature.
Though our approach is simple, it is certainly not simplistic. Doing something very, very well usually involves distilling the thing to be accomplished to its essence in the fewest number of steps. Nothing essential is sacrificed, yet nothing extraneous is added. It’s the difference between elegant and ostentatious.
Thus, simple does not mean easy. When the essence of food is exposed, not disguised by overbearing sauces or other distractions, the chef’s workmanship is fully exposed. There is no room for error.
Equally important with cooking talent in producing sumptuous meals is the quality of the ingredients. When your goal is to simply bring out natural flavors and present interesting combinations of these flavors, the materials you work with must be outstanding. This is why we are very focused on finding the best locally grown produce.
With a long growing season and climate conductive to growing a wide variety of crops, it is no wonder that Middle Tennessee is home to many great farms. Over the years, I have developed a personal relationship with six local farmers who provide The Capitol Grille with fresh produce. Some of our farmers supply us with specific ingredients, such as blueberries, muscadines or squash blossoms. Others deliver a variety of fruits and vegetables based on what is growing best at the time.
Each week, they stop by the restaurant to deliver their in-season produce. With six farmers, The Capitol Grille receives direct-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables almost daily. And every once in a while, when I can find the time, I get to visit a farm and choose produce right off the bush, tree or vine.
Obviously, fresh, local produce doesn’t just translate to delicious food in a restaurant, it can really lift the quality of your home cooking, as well. If you are interesting in purchasing local produce, I recommend visiting the Nashville Farmers’ Market (www.nashvillefarmersmarket.org).
Another option is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). In this arrangement, you can purchase a share or membership in a farm and in return, receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This is a great way to get the freshest produce possible and support our local farmers. (You can start looking into CSAs at http://nashfof.wordpress.com/csa.)
Whether you are joining us for a meal at The Capitol Grille or cooking your own feast, I encourage you to enjoy the fresh tastes Middle Tennessee has to offer.
Tyler Brown, Capitol Grille Executive Chef