Bill Leslie: Chef and the Farmer
Why did it take me so long? That’s what I keep asking myself.
My cousin, Stuart Williams, a foodie from Charlotte, encouraged me for years to take a trip to Kinston. “We’ve got to dine at Chef & the Farmer. I hear it’s great,” Stuart said. Well, he was right and then some.
Cindy and I finally made the trip to Kinston to celebrate the birthday of my old broadcast buddy Bob Inskeep. Bob’s wife, Robyn, cooked up the surprise.
The food was great and so was the service. The restaurant had a light and happy vibe. There was nothing stuffy about this internationally-acclaimed restaurant made famous by chef and television star Vivian Howard of Deep Run.
“Weirdly wonderful and creatively courageous.”
That was my initial reaction to the cuisine.
We started with Jedd’s Lettuce salad featuring “caesarish” dressing, mushroom conserva, breadcrumbs and parmesan.
Bob and I ordered the same main dish: NC snapper with miso pesto, field peas and charred grapefruit. The ladies had a pasta dish featuring pappardelle and mushrooms.
For dessert, Cindy and I shared an Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake with lemon curd and preserves, pomegranate, black pepper and rosemary. Bob and Robyn had the wildly popular Chocolate Beet Cake with milk crumb, fudge, pecan frosting, chocolate cream cheese and five-spice beet ice cream.
The evening was a fountain of flavors with each one fitting perfectly into the mix. We couldn’t have been happier with our meal.
Cindy and I stayed for the night at the Mother Earth Motor Lodge, which is within walking distance of the restaurant. Mother Earth is one of those cool retro places with lots of bright colors, a neon sign that will make you smile and a welcome mat for pets, including our beloved Rufus. We all had a wonderful time in Kinston!