It's been a minute since we've kept the blog active but that is all about to change. With our new partners fully involved in day to day operations, I'm free to spend more time on marketing and keeping our guests informed of what's going on in and around Blue Ridge.
I thought we start with a new in-cabin chef service that is unbelievable! We, of course, did the research before recommending, and everything was delicious, fresh and beautifully presented. Chef Steven Lash sat down with me for a quick chat about his new venture.
ATRC: How did you get into the personal chef business?
SL: By accident! I had just parted ways with a tech start up I was involved in and offered to cook for friends as something to pass the time and make a little extra cash. A dear friend of mine with ties to the Blue Ridge cabin industry encouraged me to consider cooking for cabin guests. I gave it a try and I really enjoyed it.
Even though I took a few years off to work in IT in order to raise a family, my heart has always been in cooking. This has rekindled a fire and passion that had been dormant for a long time. I immediately fell in love with it all over again.
The idea behind Blue Duck actually started 20 years ago while I was still in the industry. I started developing a vision to do elevated dining in people's homes, but life is life and I was not able to get it off the ground at that time.
I love meeting people, hearing their stories, and sharing mine. To do that over food is the best!
ATRC: What is your favorite thing about your work?
SL: It's hard to pick a favorite. I love the creativity. It's my food, my way. Occasionally I get a client that asks for a 7-course meal and lets me do whatever I want with it. I've even done meals where the menu was a complete surprise to the client. I love meeting people, hearing their stories, and sharing mine. To do that over food is the best!
Watching the expression on someone's face when you set a beautiful plate in front of them and they take the first bite is a great feeling. You don't get that when you work in a commercial kitchen.
ATRC: What inspires you with regard to the menus you create?
SL: I love to take classic regional dishes and elevate them. I'm an American cook and I love regional food. My mother was from Knoxville TN, so I was raised on southern home cooking. To take a classic dish like Fried Green Tomatoes, Shrimp and Grits, or tomato and cucumber salad then reinvent and elevate it is where I draw most of my inspiration. I like to throw in a little flavor and technique from the awesome foods I encountered in my travels and create something special. That's what I strive for.
ATRC: Where did the name 'Blue Duck' come from?
SL: When my now 18-year-old daughter was 6, I had to take an extended business trip. While I was packing, she came to me with one of her most prized rubber ducks from her collection and asked me to carry it with me so that I would not forget about her. Of course, I did and I began taking photos of the duck at different places. To this day the duck still travels with me. Since then it has been to the top of the Empire State Building, The Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge, and even the Taj Mahal! My cooking is largely inspired by my travels and so Blue Duck became a symbol and reminder of what is at the heart of my cooking.
So, if you are looking for a special experience in dining while enjoying your mountain vacation, contact Chef Steven at blueduckeats.com and he'll take excellent care of you.
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