THE POWER OF JUST ONE MEAL
Have you ever walked into a room and the aroma immediately whisks you back in time, awakening a distant memory? Or a single bite of a familiar food transports you to cherished childhood moments? Food has a powerful ability to conjure up thoughts and feelings that may have otherwise been forgotten.
This is one reason the menu at your event must be carefully considered. You want your guests to leave with a delicious memory that has the power to last a lifetime.
What to Know about Virginia Cuisine
VIRGINIA – AUTHENTIC AMERICANA
Virginia is often referred to as the Birthplace of America, having produced more presidents than any other state. Also known as The Amorous State, Virginia really is for lovers – lovers of food for sure!
Visitors and locals enjoy Old Dominion cuisine that is as diverse as it is delicious. When planning an event in Virginia, it only makes sense to feature authentic Virginia fare with deep, rich flavors capturing days of old.
VIRGINIA NATIVE EXECUTIVE CHEF SCOTT WATSON
Deeply rooted in Virginia, The Inn at Virginia Tech Executive Chef Scott Watson knows the authentic flavors of Virginia and is passionate about serving them up to his guests.
Chef Scott, a Richmond native, began his culinary career as a dishwasher at the age of 14 and learned that culinary arts were not only his passion but also his gift. We chatted with him recently to get some insight into his love for Virginia and the culinary world.
When you started your first restaurant job, did you have aspirations to move up this far in the culinary world?
Originally, I wanted to be a mechanical or architectural drafter, following the drafting footsteps of my father and grandfather. I was working as a dishwasher while in school, and the restaurant was short-staffed one day so I was put on the line to help cook. I was never trained but knew enough to get by after spending so much time around the action in the kitchen. I quickly realized that cooking came naturally to me. It was something I could do well, and I was pretty fast on the line. Soon, I started working lunches. I still remember the first soup I ever made, corn and crab chowder. My passion for cooking grew from there.
What do you consider quintessential Virginia fare?
This is tricky since Virginia has so many styles. Really, anything that is cooked with love and soul. Southern food is big in our area, like fried chicken with country Virginia ham. The classic Virginia peanut soup is a traditional favorite. And of course, anything with Virginia apples, like a nice apple tart. Slow cooking is a staple. One time-honored tradition is a slow-roasted whole hog, which turns the cooking into a celebratory gathering.
Having prepared meals for United States Presidents, the Queen of England, and other notable people, which meal did you most enjoy creating?
When I cooked for the Queen and President, I was honored to be asked by other chefs to be a guest cook since I didn’t work there at the time. A standout experience was cooking at the James Beard House for the first time. The culinary team from the Regency Room at the Williamsburg Inn was invited, and I helped write the six-course menu. Everything was delicious, and the dinner got great reviews.
On a lazy Sunday morning when you just want something quick, what is your go-to simple breakfast?
Thick-cut bacon and over-medium eggs with cheese on a biscuit. Throw on some lettuce and tomato too. If I have leftover marinara from the night before, I usually poach eggs in the sauce with some spicy sausage.
Do you have a favorite menu item at The Inn at Virginia Tech?
On Preston’s menu right now, the Colonial Country Fried Duck Leg Confit with Yukon-kohlrabi pavé, succotash, and black current port reduction. It’s a nice twist to southern fried chicken and potatoes. I really enjoy working on custom and themed menus for events, so those more unique menu items. Our action stations are always a hit, like an apple cider-braised Virginia pork belly carving station with homemade sweet potato biscuits. Or, a shrimp and heirloom grits station with stone mill ground grits, wild mushrooms, and gazpacho oil.
This all certainly makes us hungry for an authentic Taste of Virginia!
Let us treat your guests to an event steeped in the flavor of Virginia. With Chef Scott overseeing the menu, you can assure your attendees that it will be Virginia true and fit for royalty! Book your event at The Inn at Virginia Tech today!