ON THE PLATE
Spring has officially sprung. Farmers’ markets are bustling and creative chefs are toiling in kitchens on new dishes that reflect the season’s great bounty. We chatted with CBD Provisions' Executive Chef Peter Cox about his newly launched menu, Lunchables nostalgia, and the official state fruit of Texas. (Guess now and read on to see if you’re right.)
Tell us about the “provisions” section of the menu and how you developed it.
"I worked closely with my chefs to create new takes on classic charcuterie, such as duck terrine and corned wagyu carpaccio. In-house preserving and charcuterie have always been a passion of mine. These techniques were passed down through generations and made it possible to sustain people through harsh seasons, long before the advent of year-round access to basically everything. There's a lot of tradition, so it's something that I treat with reverence."
Are charcuterie and its cousins (terrine, paté, aspic, etc.) making a resurgence?
"Over the past decade, people have become extremely excited by charcuterie and cheese. Maybe it's millennial childhood nostalgia for Lunchables? These dishes create a communal experience of sharing. I think American diners have become more adventurous and are willing to try things that weren’t so common outside of Europe until recently."
Is that part of a larger movement?
"People are becoming more aware of the impact that large-scale production and ranching have on the environment. It’s just not sustainable and nose-to-tail cooking can be a part of the solution. We should use every part of any animal whose life ended to keep us alive. Part of a chef's role is to encourage people to understand that parts of animals they may not be accustomed to can be delicious. We also work very closely with our purveyors to make sure we're only sourcing sustainable seafood. The over-fishing of the ocean is a very real problem I don’t think the general public is fully aware of. We know the names of the boats and captains that are supplying us and like it that way."
Is a lot of the menu locally sourced?
"We work hard to source as close to home as possible. The majority of our proteins come from Texas ranches, such as Rosewood Ranches and 44 Farms. Fresh greens come from local farmers. Our honey comes from Round Rock, Texas. Even our citrus comes from Texas, which is important. Grapefruits the official State fruit of Texas, if you didn't know."
CBD Provisions is a Texas brasserie. How do you interpret that idea in your cooking?
"For me, it's about preparing regional ingredients with classic French technique to create modern renditions of traditional dishes. It's about harmony and balance."
And when you're not in the kitchen at CBD Provisions, what's your personal favorite style of cooking?
"That’s a difficult question! I love Mediterranean cooking because its scope is so broad. Southern France, Spain, Italy, Greece, North Africa...all technically Mediterranean. I also really enjoy cooking Italian cuisine. It's actually similar to Japanese cooking in its elegance through respecting the ingredients and letting them shine on their own.