Whichever region you are in, Virginia has an impressive culinary scene with dozens of renowned chefs creating inspired dishes from 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 emerging 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!
As Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director of the Tides Inn, a waterfront resort where the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail and Virginia Oyster Trail meet, Truman Jones leads the resort’s four diverse culinary activities and brings over 20 years of industry expertise and passion with to support local and coastal suppliers. Jones’ style is described as regional, seasonal, and artisanal, while reflecting Virginia’s rich culinary culture. “My vision for the resort is to give the Tides Inn a sense of place by playing the resort’s access to Virginia’s remarkable farming traditions and proximity to Chesapeake Bay – the nursery school of the Atlantic Ocean,” he says.
Photo credit: Kate Thompson
Jones joins the Tides Inn team in Fall 2020 and elevates guests’ epicurean experiences by creating thoughtful dishes inspired by the resort’s unique location and timeless heritage. He is responsible for menu development, culinary programs and the daily operations of the resort’s coastal restaurant, the Fish Hawk Oyster Bar, which offers a selection of coastal classics, al fresco oyster roast and a raw food bar with a selection of local oysters. The recently revitalized Chesapeake Restaurant and Outdoor Patio offer a new cocktail service at the table, as well as a private restaurant overlooking Carter’s Creek. and a brand new Chef’s Kitchen concept that offers interactive programming and cooking classes. Focused on maintaining a relationship with the local community, Jones works with chefs and wineries along the Virginia Wine Trail to improve not only the culinary program at the resort, but also Irvington, Virginia, known as a culinary destination with the Tides Inn as to make a thought leader.
Photo credit: The Tides Inn
Prior to joining the Tides Inn team, Jones was Executive Chef at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, where he also used local ingredients like the Ojai Pixie to enhance his local, seasonal and artisanal style. Before joining the Ojai Valley Inn, Jones was Executive Chef at Lake Placid Lodge (NY) and Ventana Inn & Spa (CA). When he’s not in the kitchen, Jones enjoys fitness and outdoor activities with his wife, plays both acoustic and electric guitars, and grills with a glass of Virginia Bourbon in hand – a family tradition.
Want to learn more about The Tides Inn and Chef Jones? Read on to learn more of its secrets, followed by one of Chef Jones’ favorite recipes!
Do you have a couple of producers, farms, or other suppliers that you prefer your local ingredients from?
I’m new to the area but I quickly learn that this is a place that is rich in local produce and produce. Whether it’s eggs from Yellow House Farms, vegetables from Dug In Farms, Rappahannock Oysters, mushrooms from Mushroom Farm or many other large producers and growers, the Northern Neck and the surrounding area represent the abundance and diversity that make Virginia a special place makes.
What are your favorite Virginia flavors?
There are too many to pick a favorite. Virginia Country Ham biscuit, crab cakes with a Virginia sparkling wine, local oysters with a local brew, Chesapeake rockfish, shrimp and grits, chess pie, the list goes on and on. My wife’s favorite thing in the world is ice cream, so I’ll say a waffle cone made in Virginia is high on our list.
What do you prefer to cook for yourself?
My favorite thing is anything that requires little to no cleaning! That’s why I love barbecuing, which my wife and I usually prepare for dinner. We like to season and grill meat or fish with some vegetables and serve it over salad and cooked grain. Here is our spice mix we use:
- ¼ cup of Hungarian paprika
- ¼ cup of ground cumin
- ½ cup of chili powder
- ½ cup of garlic powder
- ¼ cup onion powder
- ¼ cup of dried thyme
- ½ cup of kosher diamond crystal salt
- ¼ cup light brown sugar (optional)
- ¼ cup of ground black pepper
- Mix all the ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
Which Virginia wine, craft beer, cider or cocktail would you go with?
I prefer to have a cocktail while I prepare dinner at home. It’s a family tradition to have a bourbon (or two!) While grilling. So I would have a horse neck with copper fox rye. This is Copper Fox Rye with a few dashes of bitters and a spicy ginger beer. A strip of lemon peel or just a lemon wedge makes a nice side dish.
Horse neck cocktail recipe
- 2 ounces of copper fox rye
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitter
- Ginger beer top
- Lemon zest or lemon wedge for garnish
* Are you looking for a different cocktail recipe? Try your hand at making the Lancaster lemonade, a specialty for the Tides Inn.
What is your favorite Virginia vacation spot?
I’m so new to Virginia and excited to explore. Right now, my favorite is the Tides Inn; The location on the water, the charming inn and the historic past from 1947 make it an inviting retreat in the Northern Neck region. Also, I really enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains, having visited them in Tennessee and North Carolina, and I’m sure I will love them in Virginia too.
Chef Recipe Spotlight: “Chesapeake” Baked Rappahannock Oysters
Photo credit: Kate Thompson
- 4-6 tbsp roasted garlic bechamel sauce (recipe below)
- 6 Rappahannock oysters
- ¼ cup Chesapeake Bay lump crab meat
- 1 tbsp cooked bacon, chopped
- 2 tbsp parmesan
- 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 °. Carefully peel the oysters and detach the oyster from the shell, but leave it in the lower shell. Put aside.
- Mix the crab meat, chopped bacon, chopped parsley, and parmesan in a small bowl. After mixing, add a generous serving to each oyster in the shell. Place the oysters on a heat-resistant pan and bake them in the oven at 400 ° F until you see the sauce bubble and begin to turn golden brown. about 5-8 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and enjoy!
Roasted garlic bechamel sauce
“This recipe will do more than necessary for the oysters – about half a gallon of sauce.”
- 4 ounces of butter
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 pint of vegetable broth
- 1.5 pints of cream
- 1 cup of toasted garlic puree, approximately
- 15-20 cloves
- ½ tbsp salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until frothy.
- Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook the roux for about 2-3 minutes, then add the stock and cream. Whisk to dissolve the roux in the liquid.
- Turn up the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the garlic puree and spices and whisk. Let this mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and after cooling, store in an airtight cooler until use.
Are you looking for incredibly delicious recipes from Virginia’s top chefs? For more Inside the Kitchen items, check out the following Chef series articles:
- Chef Rose Moot from Pico Taqueria – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Cake
- Executive Chef Brian Noyes from Red Truck Bakery – Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread
- Chef Mikey Reisenberg from Mashita– Black trumpet truffle pasta
- Chef Jose Arevalos from 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 Truman Jones from The Tides Inn first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.