Tag Archives: chef’s table

Sir Winston Restaurant & Wine Loft

It’s time you all tried Sir Winston!

Years passed as many walked by wondering what is going to become of the The Pepper Building, a 1928 art-deco landmark ,when several years ago, it was announced that the building had been sold and would become a boutique hotel and restaurant.

Indigo Hotels, owned by IHG, like to spring up in areas that provide their guests with a more local experience. As you walk into the hotel, you’re at once in the Sir Winston Restaurant & Wine Loft and immediately are immersed in a local experience. From the walls adorned by local artists, to Sunnyside Millwork’s handcrafted banquettes, tables, chairs, in fact all of the new woodwork in the restaurant, the focus on those local details are quite obvious.  The restaurant was at one time in the basement of the Pepper Building and the new Sir Winston is a nod to its predecessor of the 1960s and its inspirational namesake, Sir Winston Churchill. People who have eaten at Sir Winston in the 60’s, will see familiar quotes as well as light fixtures found in the sub-basement that have now been repurposed in the bar and dining room. The attention to detail is impeccable.

I mean it’s just lovely. Go upstairs in the loft and enjoy the view. I first enjoyed Sir Winston right after it opened on a date night with my 10-year-old.  Chef sent out a few things for us to try, a boiled egg appetizer, a flat bread with lamb meatballs. My seared scallop dish with pickled local melon was outstanding.  I knew David would kill it at at a Chef’s Table.

I spoke with him for my podcast, “At the Table with Triadfoodies” which you can hear here. 

David was hired to design the menu and lead the kitchen of the new Sir Winston, which opened in the spring. Swing, was born in Winston-Salem, grew up in Wilmington, gained his culinary skills in New York City and worked his way back to the City of Arts and Innovation several years ago. He says to build the menu, he had to go all the way back to the late 60’s. “I was given the original Sir Winston menu. I took some ideas from that, but I had to assure management that I would not implement that pricing structure,” David joked.

For context, prime rib back in the day was $2.25.  Sir Winston endeavors to take you back in time enough to appreciate classic details and flavors but bring you back to today’s modern techniques and flair and Swing’s influence of southern cuisine.

Chef took the popular items like seafood and prime rib and put his own spin on it. “Shrimp cocktail was very popular, so I came up with Sutler’s gin pickled-shrimp, which is on our small plates menu as well as on our NC trout dish.” David says they didn’t want to be a steakhouse but did want red meat options on the menu. “To play off the prime rib, all of our signature steaks come off the rib loin, which we break down in-house, including my personal favorite, the cap steak which is featured in the Bulldog’s cut.” He says this steak made the menu after he got his hands on Sir Winston Churchill’s personal cook’s cookbook. Between researching original menus and Churchill’s indulgences, writing and re-writing menus, Swing says he spent at least two months preparing for this gig.

Chef Swing introduced a few new ideas to the guests that will be featured on the upcoming fall menu, but the tasting courses were a great balance of the tastes of summer and a nod to the spiciness of fall.

Course One

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossom, Apricot Mango Chutney

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I love the delicate texture of a stuffed squash blossom that’s been flash fried and it seems like they were made for pimento cheese. This appetizer tasted like summer in the South.

Course Two
Texas Pete Dust Cinnamon Maple Smoked Pork Rind Encrusted Chicken Lollipop

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This beautiful chicken drummie was a conversation starter at most tables. The sauce was rich and robust and the pork rind crust added another crispy dimension. I could see this dish on a menu anywhere and it would be a fun lunch item. And Swing must think so too. “I’m playing with smoking Cornish hens and preparing them the say way, with bacon jam and the pork rind crust.”

Course Three
Seared Scallop, Pork Belly, Beet Purée. Pickled Watermelon

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Our very own version of surf and turf. I’ve enjoyed scallops, which are currently on the menu at Sir Winston, and the culinary team prepares them to perfection.

Course Four
Seared NC Grouper, Black Truffle Risotto, Raspberry Mole, Blood Orange Purée

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Sea dwellers…twice in one night? What a lovely treat. 

Course Five
Cheerwine Braised Boneless Short Rib, Chipotle Grits, Gremolata

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This course was the most comforting of the night. And Swing says there is a variation currently on the menu.

Course Six
Orange Ginger Cake, Wasabi Mousse

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Beautifully presented, the orange and ginger on this petite little cake were definitely reminiscent of the coming season. The mousse on top was definitely adventurous to say the least.

Sir Winston is a hotel restaurant but Swing says he appreciates the company’s approach to embracing the local story. “It does have this corporate backing, but the fact that it’s a chef-driven restaurant and that they said to me, ‘alright chef, here’s very little direction and the ball is in your court,’ was something that I’d been looking for a long time.”

 Sir Winston Restaurant & Wine Loft is located at 104 W. 4th Street, Winston-Salem.

sirwinstonrestaurant.com.

A Triadfoodies Filipino Boodle-The Recap

It was a feeding frenzy.  Originally posted in YES! Weekly…read it here.

Nearly forty, fabulous foodies gathered for a one-of-a-kind feast. A Chef’s Table at Asian BBQ & Grill that left us all ever so slightly painfully, but blissfully full on fellowship and Filipino cuisine, aka, hospitality. When owner Robert Lumbres said he wanted to be a part of the monthly dinner series, one would expect the traditional coursed out or family-style dinner.

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But no. Rob wanted to share what he says is the ultimate showcase of Filipino hospitality.  A traditional Kamayan Feast, also known as a Boodle. It’s the “luau” of the Philippines. Think long, community-style tables covered in banana leaves. And on the banana leaves…every type of food you can imagine. And dessert. No utensils allowed. Clean hands—a must. Gosh, what fun!

Asian BBQ & Grill opened earlier this year at  3230 Reynold Road in Winston-Salem. It is the first Asian restaurant serving traditional foods of the Philippines. From the much beloved lumpia (a slim, meat filled, spring roll that’s fried to crispy perfection. Also the most popular item) to BBQ chicken, chicken on a stick, pulled pork, fried rice and noodles. And the desserts? Mango, purple yam, aka Ube, ice cream; crispy spring rolls filled with soft, sweet plantains. 

Robert says, “Filipino food is a medley of so many cultures. The Philippines has been conquered so many times we are now like our famous dessert halo halo, where you have a fusion of different flavors and textures. Our food has been influenced by Spain, China,India, Japan. Even the people and their names are a medley of all the countries.”

But it’s sharing and fellowship that they pride themselves on. “When you come to a Filipino’s home, expect to eat, because someone is always cooking,” Lumbers says. That was already quite evident at my first visit when Rob and his team just kept bringing out food ..at lunch. 

Asian BBQ & Grill is a small restaurant and though there are some tables and chairs, it’s concept is set up to be very take-out friendly. It’s great if you don’t feel like cooking.  The goal of the boodle was to not only share the experience, but give the diner a chance to try almost everything (and more). Rob said later, “Many people  have never seen blue crabs so I thought that was a fun learning experience. The typical boodle is a medley of seafood, bbq, fruits and veggies- whatever is in season.”

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When we walked into the restaurant, the tables were lined with banana leaves, but it wasn’t long before the culinary and service teams began diligently placing items on those tables. First, crispy whole tilapia. Then sticky rice, pork belly, pork bbq, chicken skewers, rice, mango, pineapple, bok choy. Also on the table, all the elements of a seafood boil, clams, mussels, shrimp, smoked sausage, corn. If that wasn’t enough, fried eggplant (prepared by Rob himself), whole crab. To say it was a huge amount of food is an understatement. Most of us were stuffed by the time we were presented with Mamon, a small cake deeply colored from purple yam but tasting very much like a vanilla cake, crispy fried plantains, mango ice cream, ube ice cream, and a few desserts that were snuck in that some of us didn’t even get to for being under the influence of food.

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Barrie Podair of Winston-Salem has been to number of Chef’s Tables said she was full the next day after experience with Filipino food. “I expected to try a wide variety of food and it seemed like as soon as you stopped, it was like But wait! Here’s more!” She adds, “When you’ve never had the cuisine and don’t know what to order, it’s nice to have a little bit of everything. And having plates and using our hands is not weird to me at all, because I have a toddler.”

Ashley Creviston, who scored some last minute tickets from the waitlist said, “Feast doesn’t seem like a big enough word to describe this culinary spread. The lack of utensils certainly did not slow down our indulgence and the food seemed endless.  It’s hard not to have a good time when you are literally elbow deep in some great Filipino cuisine.”

Because Asian BBQ doesn’t serve alcohol, Cellar 4201 Winery and Incendiary Brewing were brought in for drinks. Mary Haglund, owner of Mary’s Gourmet Diner, spent many years as a girl in the Philippines and was there to offer her support.

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Looking at the aftermath,  Rob said, “We like full. It’s our purpose.” Although he joked,  “If Filipinos had been here, there would be only be banana leaves and shells remaining.”

Rob says the restaurant has been consistently busy and that catering is very popular as well. With the talent and leadership of Chef Ruth and Chef Rod, he hopes one day to open a larger restaurant with some hang out space. And anyone who wants to book a boodle, can now do so by reservation…we Chef’s Table foodies were the guinea pigs.

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Later, Queen Mary said, “I had so much fun sharing my love for all things Filipino. The food, the people, the hospitality….Food brings us ALL together.”

Wanna go? Asian BBQ & Grill is located at 3230 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem.  https://asianbbqandgrill.com

The next available Chef’s Table is a Triadfoodies Friendsgiving on Monday, November 18, 7:00pm at Providence Restaurant. Tickets are $50 and 100 percent of proceeds will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. Reserve tickets here.

Celebrating Bastile Day and New Beginnings at Chez Genese

Here’s a look back at our amazing Chef’s Table last month on Bastile Day as we celebrated French independence (thankful for the French aren’t we, America?) and the amazing mission that has called Kathryn Hubert of Chez Genese.  Check back for an update a bit later with a follow-up as we had the best brunch there the next week.

Read about our night in YES Weekly…

Chez (The Place) Gènese: Genesis or “A new beginning.” 

Kathryn Hubert is reminded of her new beginning every day. Although, Chez Genèse,  her French-inspired cafe has not quite reached its one-year anniversary mark (that happens in late October), one year ago she was in the throes of remodeling her space in downtown Greensboro with an eye on a dream—to find her place in the hospitality industry while helping young adults with mental and intellectual disabilities.

The concept at Chez Genèse has been a dream of Hubert’s for years. “It started out as a really random day dream….if I could have any job in the world, what would it be?” Hubert says she knew almost instantly that it would be to open a restaurant hat helped people achieve a first or second opportunity in life. Inspired by her cousins who have autism, her dream narrowed in scope to working with young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. “They are the heartbeat behind my mission.”

Hubert already had a culinary degree. She lived in France for a year to study French cuisine and afterward graduated from UNC-G with a degree in hospitality. From there, she began working with autistic youth and during that time, she began to visualize her calling.

The young entrepreneur calls her Chez Genèse “French-inspired” in service and in cuisine. “I love French food and culture. I think the generosity that the French have with their time and with their food and the mentality of taking simple, quality ingredients and spending time on them fits hand in hand with what we are trying to achieve from a mission perspective.”

To create a culture that serves.

Taking the fast-paced stressful nature of the restaurant industry into consideration, there was special hiring process for those on her staff with disabilities. “It’s noisy. There are sounds, smells, visual and personal interaction.” Hubert needed to know from each of the applicants how they handled stress and what they would need from her. Training was a good two months followed by intensive training two-weeks prior to opening with refreshers simulating real life experiences and a lot of repetition to increase the staff’s confidence.  “No one on our staff had worked in a restaurant before so we were able to train them the way we wanted to.”

Chez Genèse is breakfast and lunch only with no plans to change. “It allows us all to get back home to our families and recharge and helps us look forward to those special events.” Hubert says she enjoys feature nights, wine dinners and special events because it allows her to break out and test her creativity outside of the regular menu. The Chef’s Table menu was an example of a playful take on seasonal ingredients, celebrating Bastile Day.

First Course

Grilled Peach Burrata Salad with Arugula

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Peaches and blueberries, the fruits of the season, brought beautiful sweetness to this starter course and it contrasted so well with the slightly bitter arugula.  Creamy burrata is a welcome addition to anything at anytime for me.

Second Course

Dry-rub Pork Ribs with Herb Butter & Apple/Fennel Slaw

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The smells coming from the kitchen were signaling what was to come and tantalized us as we awaited its arrival.  The rub gave a great smoky char to the ribs while the tart and sweet slaw cleansed the palate and kept you going back for more.

Third Course

Cheese Course with French Bread, Honeycomb, Fruit

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Hubert wanted to really immerse the group and give us the quintessentially French cheese course.  A cheese course is quite fun and a nice departure during a tasting, particularly after the main course. It readied us for the sweet dream to come.

Fourth Course

Champagne & Raspberry Ice Cream Float

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Super simple and luscious and bubbly. The float was reminiscent of our childhood days with a nice adult spin.

The guests at the Chef’s Table and any patron who visits Chez Genèse knows the time that the kitchen staff is putting in and there’s a sense of patience and graciousness on both sides of table, from guest to server.  And the servers are there for the long haul.

“During our one-on-one meetings, so many of our staff members told us they see this place as their career goal,” Hubert says. “We want them to be here as long as they want to be here, but we’ll also gladly help them be to be a stepping stone on their career path.” Knowing that, Hubert says they cafe is just now at the place where they can help those that want to stay long-term and find fulfilling ways in which to do so. “We’re now asking our employees what they want to do and how we can help them fulfill that personal need of developing new skills or do something different so they don’t feel stuck in the same job.”

And that leads us to what Hubert’s next dream will be and that is to make a broader impact than just her business. The cafe already offers workshops and is focusing on a strong catering business.  In the next year, she plans to roll out a training program for individuals to get training and life skills and she will network with other businesses for job placement. “We could be a revolving door to set people up to succeed in other workplace settings,” she says.

“If you know what drives someone and what motivates them and what they love…if you can tap into that and they come into work and they get to do what they love, their productivity goes up as well as their enjoyment. And I think you can feel that as a team and as a guest when you come here.”

Wanna go? Chez Genèse is located at 660 S. Elm Street, Greensboro. Open for breakfast and lunch, brunch on Sunday.

chezgenese.com

Quiet Genius at Bernardin’s Restaurant

Chef Freddy Lee has been stealthily creating extraordinary cuisine for nearly three decades as the chef for his restaurant, Bernardin’s.  The restaurant celebrates 27 years this year, no small feat for a restaurant these days.

Quiet and a bit shy, with a complete lack of bravado that you might expect from some chefs, Lee and his brother, Terry, are a stronghold in the Winston-Salem dining scene. Before there was a popular downtown, Bernardin’s, at its unassuming shopping center location on Jonestown Road, was the go-to for that “special night out” for anniversaries, prom’s, romantic dates. Back in the day, a restaurant in a shopping center was the thing to do, Freddy told me. 

And then it wasn’t the thing to do. 

Then, nine years ago, the 200-year-old Zevely House, which had enjoyed its own iconic status as restaurant in the Historic West End, became available. The Lee brothers adapted and moved the restaurant into the 200-year-old Moravian style house nine years ago and it was as if Bernardin’s at the Zevely House was always meant to be. 

“Downtown was starting to really happen back then and we thought the West End would be a perfect location, it was more central and nearer to everything.”  More businesses, bakeries, the ballpark and condos added to the happening little neighborhood vibe.

The romantic atmosphere of the purported “oldest home in Winston-Salem” adds to the already elevated masterful dishes coming out of the Lee kitchen. White linen tablecloths and a full place setting in dining rooms make for intimate feels. Service is always top-notch.

Freddy was born in India and raised in New York. As a teenager he started working in fine dining restaurants in the city and after high school and graduated from Culinary Institute of America.  Although he learned a great deal about French culinary techniques in school, it’s on-the-job training that he’s found invaluable. “You learn some basic skills from school, but it’s working at different restaurants and with different chefs that you get the most experience.” Freddy worked in New York City in restaurants like Tribeca Grill and in California for a bit before he and Terry followed family members to Winston-Salem with the intent to open Bernardin’s, and they’ve considered themselves North Carolinians ever since.

 

Bernardin’s was the location of a Chef’s Table which was so popular that it sold out in a matter of hours.  Thirty-two guests were welcomed on the beautiful Bernardin’s patio where Freddy embarked on an adventurous, culinary tour of flavors from around the globe with local ingredients.

Course One
Roasted Tri-Color Cauliflower Salad
With Granny Smith Apple, almond walnut crunch, grilled corn,  feta cheese, grated salt cured fermented egg yolk. anchovies. micro greens, sherry vinaigrette

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Listening to Freddy talk about this dish was fun and made me want to replicate it. The intricate flavors of the lightly roasted cauliflower along with a sweet crunch of roasted nuts was a fun take on a salad.

Course Two Tandoori
Kangaroo
With raised savoy cabbage, lentil curry potato cake, papadam,
mint yogurt, tandoori sauce

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Did you say “kangaroo?” Yes, I did. Bernardin’s is kind of famous for their kangaroo dish. What does it taste like, you may ask. It’s slightly stronger in flavor than beef but not as gamey as venison. It’s very lean and very clean and you should have it at least once.  Freddy’s preparation of this classic Bernardin’s dish is lovely and let’s the flavor of the meat shine.

Course Three
Roasted Sea Bream
With sunchoke, asparagus, rainbow carrots, lobster chorizo broth
The light and flaky fish was pan-seared with a crispy skin in a simple, earthy smoky broth. 

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Course Four
Pork Belly Ramen Tonkotsu
With half boiled egg., enoki mushrooms, nori, green onion, black garlic, chili oil, pork broth 

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  A true crowd-pleaser, this dish was light and flavorful with the jammy egg.

Course Five
Cheesecake Parfait
Blackberry, raspberry. white chocolate, caramel. coconut pistachio crisp, oreo cookies
Grand Marnier, creme anglaise

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This little dessert had it all… Creamy layers of fluffy whipped sweetened cream cheese layered with chocolate and coconut, berries with hints of orange. Dive straight down and pull it up for the perfect bite, Freddy told us. And perfect it was. I’d go back for that anytime.

I’d go back for any of it. Guest, John McPherson, who’s attended a number of Chef’s Table said, “I love how the chef has taken us all over the globe with this meal.”

Every course was exquisite. And that’s true for anything I’ve ever had at Bernardin’s. 

Some versions of the dishes served at A Chef’s Table are dishes that have made or will make an appearance at Bernardin’s at any given time. Lee says he loves to work with different game and changes his more adventurous offerings based on what quality ingredients he can get. “I like to work with emu and bison and different kinds of seafood,’ he says.

Lee encourages taking the leap when dining out. “Many people order off the menu but sometimes they’ll want to be surprised. That’s the best way to eat, really. Order different entrees and share them.”

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The Lee brothers also own Bernardin’s Charlotte and Blue Fin in Columbia.  And Freddy has partnerships in other restaurants as well, Trade Street Diner, Bleu Restaurant & Bar, and Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse.  How he has time to cook in addition to looking after all these restaurants is a wonder. But now with his children grown, he enjoys quick trips with his wife, even out of the country, but never for very long. “I like to get out of the restaurant and travel and eat fast food,”  he laughs. “Opening restaurants is stressful but to me, I love to cook and it comes easy.  I will always be cooking.”

A Look Back at Our Chef’s Table at Blue Denim

When you visit Blue Denim, it might be a good idea to wear your stretchy jeans.

Located in the heart of Downtown Greensboro (217 S. Elm Street), lovingly nicknamed “Jeansboro,” as an ode to the city’s textile heritage, particularly to Cone Denim, Blue Denim has established itself as a cozy, modern eatery with a focus on creole and cajun fare. Owner Jody Morphis, came to Greensboro by way of New Orleans in 2000. His first job in the Gate City was at the former Restaurant Pastiche. Five years later, Morphis opened Fincastles Downtown, a beloved burger-centric diner that became a part of Greensboro’s locally-owned burger boom. After enjoying 10 years at Fincastles, Morphis sold the diner and stepped away from the kitchen for a brief while. But the proverbial phrase, “I could not stay away” rings true here. So in 2015, Morphis and his wife opened Blue Denim, right next door to the former Fincastles (now White and Wood Wine Lounge).       

Opening a cajun restaurant wasn’t too far a stretch, as Morphis often featured a Mardi Gras menu at Fincastles that was quite popular. Morphis grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, and after college went to culinary school in New Orleans. There he stayed as a chef in New Orleans at Cafe Giovanni,and then at House of Blues. “I always loved gumbo and étouffées. Growing up in Mississippi, we grew up on that too,” Morphis told me. An eclectic globally-inspired menu with a cajun and creole focus takes special attention and Morphis says he enjoys playing around with flavors and local ingredients.

While many of the featured chefs “surprise” the guests with the multiple courses, some like to present a menu and Chef Morphis’s menu was presented beautifully with a custom printed napkin tie to mark the occasion. Each course was detailed in such a way to highlight a region or event that is meaningful to Morphis and we noted that here with each course.

Mobile (Course 1)
Rock Shrimp Zabuton

“Mobile is where the first recorded Mardi Gras took place in the United States”

Marscarpone, rock shrimp, chives, raspberry & mango puree, roasted ginger pepper demi, pea shoot pesto.

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This little crepe like “pillow” was beautifully presented. The creamy filling worked beautifully with  the sauces and demi. You know how it’s so yummy to take the last bite and dredge it through all the beautiful glazes? Every bite was like that. Guest Scott Fancett declared, “This sauce is so good, it should’v come with a spoon.”

Chabaud (Course 2)
Holy Trinity & Friends

“Chabaud is the last name of the family that kind of took care of me when I lived in New Orleans,” Morphis described of this course. “They have been family friends since the late eighties. I have had many memorable meals and experiences with the Chabaud family, and just wanted to honor them.”

Gate City Harvest spring onions, roasted sweet peppers, celery, pork, toasted gorgonzola, Blue Denim Sauce

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This dish was deemed a favorite by guest Bill Norman, who owns Fainting Goat Spirits. This deconstructed “holy trinity” had the components separately presented, but the magic happened when you combined the flavors getting a little bit of everything. The toasted gorgonzola added a beautiful cheese straw like texture and flavor.

Bacchus (Course 3)
Duck, Duck, Gumbo

“Bacchus is another Krewe in New Orleans,” Morphis explained of this dish. “Bacchus was formed in order to include people from outside of New Orleans to revitalize carnival in NOLA. Duck gumbo is revitalizing and a very inclusive dish in itself.”

Smoked Joyce Farms duck, andouille sausage, lemon-grass scented filé gumbo, Louisiana popcorn rice

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The gumbo has been a featured item in the past few weeks at Blue Denim, the warmth and spiciness is everything you love in a gumbo. It was a bit heartier thanks to the duck with a great kick of heat.

Zulu (Course 4)
Grits & Daube

“Zulu is the first parade to roll on Fat Tuesday, which to me is the meat and potatoes of carnival season.”

Old Mill of Guilford Grits, USDA Prime Denver Steak, Cabernet beef jus reduction, parsley oil

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A riff on shrimp and grits, brings us steak and grits. It was a hearty entree to cap the evening’s savory courses. 

Endymion (Course 5)
Oh My Darlin’ Lemon-Thyme

Endymion is one of the super Krewes and largest parades that roll during Mardi Gras,” says Morphis, “When I lived in NOLA, the Chabaud family lived on the Endymion parade route. I had some sweet times there, so dessert was named for Endymion.”

Lemon Thyme Cheesecake,bourbon rosemary blueberry sauce, lemon curd, mint

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The dessert, with its golden, purple and green, which I’m sure was a hat tip to Mardi Gras, was sweet, tart and herbaceous. I absolutely love a lemon dessert with some component of berry. It was absolute perfection for me.

Morphis says when considering what the city needed, he saw a place in the market for great cajun cuisine. “I make a concerted effort to do it the right way and with the right ingredients. The bread for our Po’ Boys come from New Orleans.“

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“We work closely with Gate City Harvest and get with Aubrey to find out what he’s growing and it’s getting easier to build our menus earlier now and utilize as much locally grown produce as possible.”  He adds, “I also love to read a whole lot and study cookbooks to see what other people are doing…and study what other cultures are doing too so that we might be able to do that here at Blue Denim.”

Morphis says he’s happy he has been able to discover a passion and deliver what he loves to do in Greensboro and now he has regulars that dine at Blue Denim that keeps the drive alive. “I don’t take loving what I do for granted. I knew I wasn’t going to get rich, but we make a nice living. We also found good people that work with us that share that desire to create a great experience for our guest. I don’t take that lightly.”

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