Whichever region you are in, Virginia has an impressive culinary scene, with dozens of renowned chefs creating inspired dishes using locally sourced ingredients that bring together the best flavors of the Commonwealth in uniquely delicious ways. To put the spotlight on the best dishes in Virginia, we spoke to some of these chefs, from the award-winning seasoned professionals to the rising stars who have garnered attention in national and even international publications. Follow our Inside the Kitchen series as we check out everything Eat.Drink.LOVE in Virginia!
Photo credit: Rosie Moot
Pico Taqueria is a casual island restaurant that serves gourmet tacos with creative combinations that incorporate the unique flavors of Virginia’s east coast. Chef Rosie Moot not only runs the kitchen at Pico Taqueria, but is also the owner of the restaurant, along with her husband Dylan Moot and brother-in-law Nathan Moot and Kate Moot. Rosie and her family of professional chefs have ditched the rulebook that says what makes a taco and incorporated fresh country ingredients like oysters, clams, sweet potatoes and blueberries to create flavors that will make Chincoteague locals and diners alike want more to experience .
Want to learn more about Pico Taqueria and Chef Moot? Read on to learn more about their Chef’s secrets, followed by one of Chef Moot’s favorite recipes!
Do you have a few producers, farms, or other suppliers that you prefer your local ingredients from?
The seasons on the shore are inconsistent. In order to achieve the summer volume and get a consistent menu, we use Sysco and Teddy Bear Produce. In the season we try to get as much as possible from the farmers and are always looking for new relationships to bring more agricultural products to our guests. In the past we have used B-Dat Farms (tomatoes and corn), Martin’s Crab House (softshell crabs), Tom’s Cove Aqua Farms (oysters), Vessey Orchards (strawberries and apples), and Perennial Roots Farm. We mainly use perennial roots for our specialty tacos that we can play around with a bit, but we try to get rocket and Thai basil from it on a weekly basis. This year we also used Pickett’s Harbor Farms peaches for my favorite peach habanero salsa!
What are your favorite Virginia flavors?
I love the sweet potatoes. Before I went to shore, I didn’t know what a Hayman potato was. I love the subtle sweet taste and how it works so well on both sweet and savory dishes. Chincoteague in particular got me on some great oyster fillings that I never thought I would eat!
What do you prefer to cook for yourself?
I love making soups and stews. While they cook, they warm the house and fill it with the best smells! I really love making my mushroom soup hot and sour, but if we were to talk about ingredients on the east coast, I’d make my chicken dumpling soup. The “dumplings” are more like meatballs and the recipe is constantly changing. I have been known to add more lemon and garlic in the winter to ward off colds and butternut squash in the fall and make them a little sweeter. This year I got a CSA box from Perennial Roots Farm and used shiso in the chicken dumplings and eggplant in the soup along with your usual suspects of onions, carrots and celery.
Which Virginia wine, craft beer, cider or cocktail would you go with?
Any white wine from Chatham Vineyards goes great with chicken soup, even if I’m much more fond of Cabernet Franc.
What is your favorite Virginia vacation spot?
All over Virginia? As much as I love Chincoteague, I love the mountains and forests more than the beach. I like going to Charlottesville. My husband and I like to hike and camp in Shenandoah, test all the wineries, go fly fishing, visit the caves in Luray and even took a blacksmithing course there.
Chef Recipe Spotlight: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
“Makes two 9-inch cakes. I use Jack Daniels as my bourbon, but any bourbon will! “
Chef Rosie Moot
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup bourbon (I use Jack Daniels)
- ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecan halves
- Whisk eggs and sugar together. Melt the butter and add to the egg mixture.
- Stir in corn syrup, vanilla and bourbon.
- Arrange pecans and chocolate chips in the bottom of pre-baked 9-inch pie crusts.
- Pour in the liquid and bake at 45 ° C for about 45 minutes – 1 hour or until it is firm.
Are you looking for incredibly delicious recipes from Virginia’s top chefs? For more articles from Inside the Kitchen, see the other articles in the Chef series:
- Executive Chef Brian Noyes from Red Truck Bakery – Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread
- Chef Mikey Reisenberg from Mashita– Black trumpet and truffle pasta
- Chef Jose Arevalos at Woodstock Cafe– Pomegranate Burrata Pumpkin Salad
- Chef Rachel FitzGerald from Magpie Dinery– Apple and bacon cheddar sandwich
- Chef Dale Ford of the Devils Backbone Brewing Company– Fried short ribs with white Cheddar Byrd Mill truffle seeds, crispy brussels and simple sauce
Inside the Kitchen with Chef Rose Moot from Pico Taqueria first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.