Miss Dining Out? Restaurant Meals at Home by Tyler Teass
With no end in sight for COVID-19, must we forego altogether the joy of dining with loved ones? Or, are there ways to do so without compromising public health?
One option growing in popularity is to hire a private chef for an outdoor, socially-distanced dinner at home. The Charlottesville area is blessed with many outstanding chefs-for-hire, capable of creating a restaurant experience at home.
One is Tyler Teass. The opening chef of the 2018 Best New Restaurant in Charlottesville (Brasserie Saison) was also once sous chef of the Best New Restaurant in the Country (Rose’s Luxury). After Brasserie Saison, Teass left the restaurant world to spend more time with his wife and children, which his recently launched catering business allows. He even named it after his children: Al + Mae’s.
When COVID-19 hit, Teass’s business suffered, as clients cancelled events. Over time, though, Teass has seen an uptick in business, as people long to get together for a good meal. “Everyone is super busy and stressed, and looking for outlets not just for good food, but also entertainment,” said Teass. “It seems like people are more comfortable now that there are protocols in place.”
We were more than comfortable to invite Teass to cook dinner for a small group of friends on our’ back patio. Teass prides himself on being able to cook whatever his clients request — from Mexican to Indian, from plated, formal dinners to family style. “I have a list of sample menus and dishes,” said Teass, “but ultimately I cook anything a guest wants.” In our case, what we wanted is whatever he wanted. A favorite way to order at restaurants, after all, is to ask the chef to make that they’d like. We did the same with Teass. Carte blanche.
Dinner by Tyler
Passed canapes began the meal with tongue and cheek. And heart.
Pastrami of beef heart, mustard, and chow chow topped slices of grilled sourdough. Teass loves to bake, and his delicious bread appeared throughout the menu.
Tiny ice cream cones held creme fraiche ice cream and dollops of caviar.
And, anchovies rested on a bed of egg salad and a potato chip.
We sat down for dinner to a show-stopper of an appetizer: Patterson’s Heritage Beef Ribs. Patterson’s is a line of beef recently introduced by Autumn Olive Farms in partnership with Bill Patterson. Famed for their heritage pork, Autumn Olive Farms bring the same care to Patterson’s beef, which enjoy the same terroir as the pigs, freely grazing on the farms’ lush grasses and forages. Just as chefs have long raved about Autumn Olive Farms pork, they are already swooning over Patterson’s beef. “Some of the best beef I’ve ever had,” said Teass. “It’s so exciting to use it.”
For our ribs, Teass used the flanken cut — common to Korean barbecue. He marinated the ribs in soy, sake, mirin, and Worcestershire sauce and cooked them sous vide over night. To finish them, he grilled them on high heat and added a glaze made from a reduction of the marinade. Off the grill, he topped the ribs with a salad of cilantro, mint, cucumber, and lime juice.
Teass admits to an obsession with roast chicken, and even dreams of opening a rotisserie chicken restaurant. And so, our entree was crispy roast chicken, with garlic crumble, freshly grilled sourdough pita, herb salsa verde, and an aioli of aged miso.
Sides did justice to the entree. One was a tomato salad with Green Goddess dressing and bacon breadcrumbs. The other was a salad of Schuyler Greens, pickled shallots, sunflower, and goat cheese, with a creamy mustard dressing.
For wine pairings, we as usual called upon Erin Scala from In Vino Veritas, who chose wines to match each course. For beer, though we usually opt for local brews, one guest had recently returned from New England with a haul of special IPAs. Besides, it was National IPA Day.
Teass has a fondness for savory ingredients in dessert. At Brasserie Saison, a signature was his buttered popcorn pudding. For us, he made a tomato and peach upside down cake with bay leaf ice cream. After dessert, the meal ended as it began: playfully. Evidently I have a reputation for enjoying Negronis, and Teass encased slices of watermelon in gelatinized Negroni ingredients.
“It will be interesting to see how receptive people become to private chefs as our reality with COVID-19 continues,” said Teass.”I think it’s something that will become more commonplace.”
When can we schedule our next one?
Dinner by Tyler
Pastrami Beef Heart on Sourdough with Mustard, Chow Chow
Sicilian Anchovies on Egg Salad
Caviar and Creme Fraiche Ice Cream Cones
Patterson’s Heritage Beef Ribs, Worcestershire Glaze, Herbs
Crispy Local Chicken, Garlic Crumble, Sourdough Pita, Miso Aioli, Herb Salsa
Tomato Salad, Green Goddess, Bacon Breadcrumbs
Schuyler Greens, Pickled Shallots, Sunflower Seeds, Goat Cheese, Creamy Mustard Dressing
Tomato and Peach Upside Down Cake, Bay Leaf Ice Cream, Crumble