The mind works in amazing ways. Every now and then, the down-the-rabbit hole thoughts that run through our heads as we’re doing our daily work end up leading to a great idea. Such is the case with the chefs at Southall, and it all started with steak trimming in a…Read More
Imagine spending the day wandering the property at Southall, meandering through the apple orchard, climbing the hill to find a sun dial at the top. After a leisurely afternoon, you sit down to dinner inside the resort’s understated, elegant dining room. After a few courses, a plate of food is placed before you. The plate itself—a hand-thrown ceramic piece—is lovely on its own, but it also holds an apple dish with slivers of the fruit carefully laid out into a spiral. A drizzle of honey makes the slices glisten. Before you take a bite, a story about the dish unfolds.
A local ceramist came to Southall to collect trimmings of apple wood and clay soil from the property. He took the branches and clay back to his studio where he used the wood to fire up his kiln. With the clay, he carefully sculpted and shaped a striking set of plates and then fired them using the apple wood flame. Once fully crafted, the plates went back to Southall where Chef Tyler Brown had harvested apples from the nearby orchard, carefully slicing them down, and honoring them by serving them in a simple yet stunning presentation. The honey that sweetened the dish was collected from the hives that sit at the top of the orchard, where bees buzz through the apple trees, pollinating as they go. As you sit before the plate, remembering your walk through the orchard and tasting the fruits of these efforts, the circle of life at Southall is revealed.
Moments like this define the Southall experience.
“It will be that ‘a-ha’ moment or that unveiling that will guide you through,” Chef Tyler says.
The full circle, for him, doesn’t just mean seeing the ingredients raised right around him and putting them on the plate. It’s learning to find a multitude of applications for all that the land provides. It’s looking at what’s in the ground in the morning and transforming it into something to savor by the evening, and then sharing the details of those moments in order to inspire appreciation for every part.
With 325 acres and an undulating landscape, there are myriad micro-regions at Southall, each producing an abundance of riches to harvest throughout the year.
“There’s far more than just a field here. There’s a ton of layering and rabbit holes to dive down,” Tyler says. What’s unearthed in those layers, both edible and functional, will be applied in unexpected ways.
The circle widens once you consider the team, too. Just as the dirt rows of the kitchen garden eventually yield an abundance of greens, tubers, and herbs, the team members will grow from researchers, planners, and discovers to harvesters and engineers.
“I would like to see a place where we empower people, give them the opportunity to shine, a place where they can give input,” Tyler says.
It will be a place where all can appreciate the thrill of pulling a moment together, and then finding joy in the reaction it evokes.
“We’re in constant pursuit to make sure that the unexpected is achieved,” Tyler says. “Guests may not realize it, but they will be touched by history, technique, and seasonality, in a manner they might never anticipate.”