Mother Knows Best

Words by Pat Tanumihardja (This article appeared in our Spring Issue 2015; this is an excerpt.) Tarver King and mom_JPEG

Chef Tarver King dishes on what he learned in his mother's kitchen

A passion for food and cooking runs in Chef Tarver King’s family. The chef’s Russian grandmother, Tatiana McKenna, was the food editor for Vogue magazine and edited several cookbooks in the 1960s.

Even though King never knew her—she died when he was very young—his mother, Alexandra King, kept her memory alive in a way that ended up having a real impact on the young chef-to-be. “[My mom] would always tell me stories about cooking with her,” he says. “My grandmother would go foraging in the woods for chestnuts, and go hunting and come home and pluck feathers out of pheasants.”

A forager himself, King follows suit in his kitchen at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Virginia. “We have one whole menu dedicated to foraged stuff so we go out all the time, all year long,” he says. “And I’ve played with recipes from [my grandmother’s] old cookbooks.”

King’s mom was a good cook in her own right. King has fond memories of eating cheese soufflé “as big as a basketball” and minestrone soup “that was to die for.”

However, chicken noodle soup was his favorite: “I know that sounds corny but when you don’t feel so good and Mom makes you chicken noodle soup …”

“I used to fake getting sick so I could get some!” he admits.

Although King’s mom didn’t push him toward a culinary career, she was very supportive. As a teenager, King worked at Le Chambord, a defunct French restaurant in Virginia Beach run by a Belgian chef who was “a yeller and a screamer.”

Discouraged, King would seek comfort in his grandmother’s experiences retold by his mom. His classically trained grandmother went to Le Cordon Bleu and had many stories about “French chefs who were always yelling and screaming and very disciplinary,” he says. “These stories helped me get through.”

Above all, King’s mom taught him the importance of sitting down to meals together.

King recalls that dinners at a friend’s house were often a non-event. “You eat and then you go on and do something else.” However, dinner at King’s house was a big deal: “Dinner was a time when family got together, especially in a house with three boys running around. It was a time when everybody slowed down and we’d talk about how everybody was doing.”

Cheese souffle3 - credit Tarver King

Cheese Soufflé

From The Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes for Entertaining at Home by Jessica Daves with Tatiana McKenna, Tarver King’s grandmother.

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, approximately

½ cup butter

⅓ cup flour

2 cups milk

2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

12 egg whites

8 egg yolks

1 teaspoon dry mustard

Black pepper

Espellete pepper


Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 2 (6-cup) soufflé dishes. Sprinkle the dishes with the Parmesan cheese, rolling them around until they are well covered and tapping out any excess.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the flour and cook it slowly, stirring until smooth, for 3 minutes. Do not let it brown. Add the milk and bring to the boiling point over low heat, stirring until thickened and smooth. Add the Gruyere cheese and stir in. Remove from the heat and cool the mixture a little.

Beat the egg yolks and add them to the mixture. Add the mustard, black pepper to taste and several dashes of espellete pepper. Add salt to taste, depending on the saltiness of the cheese.

Whip the egg whites with a dash of salt only until you can turn the bowl over without the eggs sliding out. Stir a third of the whites quickly but gently into the cheese mixture, then pour this mixture over the remaining whites, and fold in, turning the bowl all the time until well incorporated.

Pour into the prepared soufflé dishes and bake without peeking for 25 minutes, preferably on the lower shelf of the oven. After 25 minutes shake one of the soufflé dishes very gently; if the mixture is very loose, bake for another few minutes for a soft soufflé. For a firm soufflé bake for 35 minutes in all. Serve immediately. Be sure to have ready very hot plates.

For a soufflé that will wait a little, place the soufflé dishes in pans of water and bake for 45 minutes. Notes: When the soufflé has been in the oven for 25 minutes, put a loaf of French country bread in with it to get hot and crusty. Slice a pile of summer sausage and serve with a jar of mustard. And lastly, toss a large salad of light leaves with herbs and a sharp vinaigrette. Have everything at the table (including the family) ready for the soufflé to come out of the oven. Serves 6–8.

Put On Your Favorite Canadian Tuxedo… You Have Some Tasting To Do!

By Kirsten Bourne, Capital Area Food Bank for Edible DC BJB (265)

Where else can you eat like the First Family, try dishes from two recently named James Beard Award finalists, savor samples from many of  Washingtonian's top 100 restaurants and be treated to one of the best ice creameries in the country…all in one place?

The Capital Area Food Bank—the largest hunger and nutrition nonprofit serving the Washington metro area—has pulled together these and others in their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Blue Jeans Ball.

If you nab your ticket now, on Sunday March 13th your taste buds will be guaranteed a journey through the Washington area with bites from 40 local restaurants, from Logan Circle’s Ghibellina to Chevy Chase’s Range, from Dupont’s DGS Delicatessen to Arlington’s Restaurant Eve! Wondering how you’re going to wash the unlimited food down? Christopher McNeal of Bar Dupont, and his mixologist friends from Sotto, Kapnos and Rebellion have you covered with unlimited cocktails.

If you’re already planning on coming, make a note to stop by the silent auction to win delicious gifts donated by Momofuku Milk Bar’s chef Christina Tosi and How to Cook Everything author Mark Bittman (plus trips to Brazil and the French Riviera)! And stay for the live auction, where you’ll have a chance to bid on a private dinner for 10 and taco-making 101 with the founder of Chaia, the new “farm-to-taco” restaurant that all you Edible DC readers have been talking about!

Tickets are $200 each and each ticket sold raises enough money for the Capital Area Food Bank to feed a family of four for two weeks. Ticket and sponsorship details available at

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The details?

When: Sunday, March 13th 5 pm VIP reception; 6 pm tastings, cocktails and silent auction; 8 pm: program & live auction.

Where: Marriott Marquis Hotel, 901 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Why:  The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic undernutrition, heart disease and obesity. By partnering with nearly 450 community organizations in DC, Maryland and Virginia, as well as delivering food directly in hard to reach areas, the CAFB is helping 540,000 people each year get access to good, healthy food. That’s 12 percent of our region’s mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and grandparents.

Visit:, or find the CAFB at, and Twitter at @foodbankmetrodc.

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Chefs Behind Bars: Supporting Kids with Cocktails

image1Words and photos by Sara Axelrod, special to Edible DC Seven of DC’s top chefs gathered at Prequel, (downtown DC's restaurant incubator and event space), for Chefs Behind Bars on January 17th--an annual fundraising event benefiting the Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. The campaign's sole focus on ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to the healthy food they need, every day. From whiskey cocktails with salty rims and smoked onion garnishes to mezcal cocktails paired with pumpkin pop-tarts—each chef brought their best and most creative ideas to the table in support of No Kid Hungry.

The lineup included the following chefs, many of whom who have or have previously utilized the Prequel incubator space to kick start their own restaurants:

Matt Baker | Gravitas Jen Carroll | Requin John Critchley| Brine Hamilton Johnson | Honeysuckle Liam LaCivita | Bar Civitaimage3 James Martin| District Supper Yuki Nakandakari | Ocopa

Jen Carroll wowed the crowd with her take on a Dark and Stormy, where the well-known rum drink became an exotic tropical vacation with passion fruit tea mixed with orange blossom water. Liam La Civita from Bar Civita’s cocktail lineup was not for the faint of heart. While delicious, Citiva’s cocktail of rye, orange juice, ginger beer with a smoked paprika salt rim needed food as a chaser, and this meant a required after drink indulgence in the fried chicken and biscuits that were being passed around before moving on to the next tasting.

Overall, the event was a great success, selling out two days prior to the doors opening with silent auction items that had the crowd buzzing featuring items such as a weekend stay at Smyth - a Thompson Hotel in New York City, dinner for two at Chef Hamilton Johnson's Honeysuckle, the southern-inspired restaurant currently popping up at Prequel and a cooking lesson for two from Chef James Martin of District Supper.

Most important, beyond the delicious snacks, inspiring cocktails and engaging silent auction items, all the proceeds went to benefit a great cause.

One in five children in the United States struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is working tirelessly to end child hunger in America by breaking down barriers that keep kids from healthy food and connecting them to food where they live. This means spearheading innovative hunger solutions in local communities such as nutritious school breakfasts, summer meals, after school nutrition, cooking classes and grocery store trips with local schools to teach both kids and parents how to make healthier, cost-effective food choices. Events like DC's Chefs Behind Bars are an example of local outreach to raise money and shine a national spotlight on the growing crisis of child hunger.

Food insecurity affects kids in a multitude of ways and can lead to lifelong challenges. By supporting organizations like Share Our Strength, we can make a difference in this national epidemic. For more information on Share Our Strength and No Kids Hungry, go here.


Hawaii/Colorado native and DC transplant, Sara Axelrod is a frequenter of farmers markets, vegetable enthusiast and constantly lusts after the perfect French fry. When she is not cooking or exploring DC’s thriving restaurant scene, she works at the DC-based public affairs firm, The Glover Park Group, as a communications professional on the Energy and Sustainability team, with a focus on food policy and sustainable agriculture.

Downtown Silver Spring Hosts Holiday “Foodie Festivus"

DTWN SPP TreeSponsored by Downtown Silver Spring This winter, visit Downtown Silver Spring to experience “Foodie Festivus,” the 2015 theme of its annual Reimagining the Holidays event. An extended celebration of cuisine, culture and community, Foodie Festivus features a must-see holiday art installation, live performances, chef-inspired events and an innovative food drive that truly brings the community together for the sake of food, fun and all manner of seasonal festivities.

Holiday Dining Extravaganza During Foodie Festivus, participating Downtown Silver Spring restaurants are featuring their own unique specials and festive dishes, with more than enough dynamic offerings to keep everyone satisfied. Speaking of variety, the eclectic offering of restaurants and eateries also make for perfect social venues. From the impromptu happy hour at AG Kitchen or Masa Hibachi to planning a lively holiday office party at Copper Canyon Grill, Downtown Silver Spring has something for every palate!DTWN SSP Singers

Art Installation Holiday Tree, “Well-Seasoned Greetings” No matter where you’re enjoying a delectable meal at Downtown Silver Spring this season, take in the views of the impressive annual tree installation, “Well-Seasoned Greetings, ” by artist Karl Unnasch. Featuring illuminated take-out containers, “U-tinsel”, spatula snowflakes, and topped with a stunning glass bottle star, the tree is a must-see culinary-themed spectacle, sure to delight foodies everywhere!

Celebrity Chef Cook-Off! The Foodie Festivus entertainment schedule features plenty of seasonal highlights — for example, on Saturday, December 5, Downtown Silver Spring will host the Chefs CAN Cook Competition during the FRESHFARM Market, in which AG Kitchen’s Alex Garcia will face off against Jenna Umbriac (director of Nutrition Programs at Manna Food Center) and Mark Mills (of Chocolate and Tomatoes Farm) in a light-hearted 'Chopped'-style competition. Surprise canned ingredients donated by Whole Foods Market will be utilized in what is sure to be a can’t-miss, festive foodie face-off!

Foodie Festivus One-Night Stay Package Whether you’re planning to visit Silver Spring for the shopping and festivities or you’re just looking to indulge in a relaxing staycation, Courtyard by Marriott is offering a Foodie Festivus one-night stay package. With any one-night weekend stay, receive a $50 AG Kitchen gift card through January 31, just use the code FOO when booking (

The Spirit of the Season Most importantly, the Foodie Festivus celebration serves as a reminder to help those less fortunate. Downtown Silver Spring is holding a canned food drive to benefit Manna Food Center, and is asking the community to donate non-perishable food items. And be sure to check out CAN-Creation, an awareness-raising art installation created by Hospitality Partners featuring more than 300 cans donated by Whole Foods Market Silver Spring (on display throughout the season in the windows by H&M).

Tying together cuisine, culture and community, Foodie Festivus is set to inspire and entertain. With all the fun and festivities going on, Downtown Silver Spring is the place to be this holiday — learn more here.

DTWN SPP juggler

Full House at Farewell Party for FRESHFARM Founders

Top Chefs, Mixologists and DC's Top Food Leaders At Farmland Feast

by Susan Able and AJ Dronkers, Edible DC


Bluegrass lovers, sophisticated cocktail attire, farmers with farmer beards were all in attendance last night at FRESHFARM Markets Farmland Feast, held at the Ritz-Carlton. The annual fundraiser, always one of DC's top locavore events, was especially significant as the audience paid tribute and a farewell to the two founders, Ann Yonkers and Bernie Prince. The sold out event started with the First at the Feast Cocktail Party, then attendees who stayed for the Feast were seated in the ballroom.

Washington Post food editor, Joe Yonan, served as the Master of Ceremonies and new Executive Director, Michael Koch, paid tribute to the legacy of the founders and introduced a video that was made to commemorate the night. Koch also announced the launch of The Founders Legacy Fund, and a live auction raised well over $100,000 to get it started, the robust donations from the Wallace Genetic Foundation of $50,000 and Think Food Group's Chef Jose Andres of $10,000.


FarmlandFeastPics_overheadAs usual, there was no better place to be eating or drinking, many of DC top food talent was in attendance, and lucky enough for the ticketholders, there were also as many in the kitchen serving everything from blue catfish to lamb shoulder to a dessert made of kabocha squash. Handmade chocolates from Zoe's and plentifully poured wine from Virginia made the evening very festive.

Tarver King, chef at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, always wows the cocktail crowd with his Virginia style, WD-50ish take on appetizers, and his spread this year was exotic and wonderful--with foraged Hen of the Woods mushrooms done fried chicken style, dill pickle "chips" made from puffer fish with a dollop of labneh yogurt and a mind-bending ball of cocoa butter filled with a liquid elixir, don't ask, we can't remember it was. "Just pop it in your mouth--go ahead!" Tarver said. And I did. Can food be a thrill? With Tarver, we can count on it.


Kudos to the organizing committee, the FRESHFARM staff and volunteers. The evening went off without a hitch and it served as a lovely tribute to two women who helped create the vibrant local food scene and healthy eating in DC.

I Went to Landmark Music Festival for the Food

by Andrew Marder, Special to EdibleDC The picnic area and tables at the Landmark Music Festival.

"I really like that one 'TV on the Wolf' song," I say to a girl at my picnic table.

"It's 'TV on the Radio'," she says as she takes a bite out her Oyamel taco. "Their song is 'Wolf Like Me'."


Curley's Q BBQ fries.

Luckily, I'm allowed to be a musical idiot because I'm not here to cover the band line-up -- I'm here for the food. The Landmark Music Festival teamed up with Jose Andres to bring concert goers the DC Eats food court.

Oyamel, Amsterdam Falafelshop, Old Ebbitt Grill, Lemonade Love and a dozen other vendors line the edge of Ohio Avenue on the outskirts of the Mall, spilling out burgers, shakes, tacos and treats out into a hungry crowd.

Amsterdam Falafelshop fixings.

It's a far cry from epicurean horrors of yesteryear, when muddy hippies shoved grilled cheese in my -- I mean their -- faces just to fuel them for the next round of Grateful Dead knockoffs. To be fair, you can grab a grilled cheese at Landmark, but it's from The Big Cheese so it hardly counts as slumming it.

The elote locos from Duke's.

I wave down a girl with an ear of corn. On a stick. Covered in sriracha, crema, and cheese. It's elote locos, Mexican-styled corn on a stick from Duke's Grocery.

"I've only had one bite, but based on that one bite, I would highly recommend it," she tells me.

The Beefsteak vegetarian options by Chef Jose Andres.

Catering to the times, there's something for every taste. Vegetarian and vegan options from Beefsteak and PEPE. Fairground classics from Ben's Chili Bowl, Curley's Q BBQ, Rocklands Barbeque, and Shake Shack. If nuevo DC is more your scene, there's Maketto or Maki Shop.

It's a food scene to match the diverse musical line-up, which ranges from Dr. John to Drake, with The Strokes, alt-J, and Manchester Orchestra scattered in between.

Steamed bun from Maketto chef Erik Bruner-Yang.

All of this, of course, is out of my depth. As I take pictures of corn sticks and frozen lemonades, I deftly dodge musical preference questions by running away or pretending to only speak Swedish.

As the festival staff cover up Jose Andres' Potato Chips -- sold out -- on the menus, I head to the exit. Stuffed. On my way out, a half-dozen bright faces passed me on the edge of the DC Eats area.


"Let's take a moment to appreciate the situation," one of them said to his friends. They take in the general splendor of the food tents in silence for thirty seconds.

"I'm going to get a gelato [from Pitango], for sure."

Lemonade Love.

The Landmark Music Festival is hosted by the Trust for the National Mall - an official partner of the National Park Service - with the goal to restore and improve the National Mall and honor its ideals for future generations through the new Landmark Campaign.

BlogHeadshotAndrew Marder is a writer living in Hyattsville, MD. He enjoys playing with his son, having dinner with his wife, and sitting quietly with good friends. When he’s not awake, he’s asleep.