Dining Day Trips
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Chef Ryan Van Winkle regularly plans special menus for guests of his restaurant, The Chef's Table. There he prepares food in front of guests, plates each course and serves them one-by-one.
Table for Twelve
Make a trip to Dawt Mill Resort, and snag reservations at The Chef’s Table, which takes guests on a palate-pleasing culinary adventure unlike any other in 417-land. By Savannah Waszczuk
As we pulled our car into the driveway of Dawt Mill Resort, we listened to the gravel crunch under our tires and agreed it felt as if we were transported back in time. I was with my friend, Kaitlyn McConnell, and we were both happy to see the property after our two-hour drive. The spot is scenic, with the mill, established in 1897, still boasting an old-timey charm.
We were there for dinner at The Chef’s Table, the fanciest restaurant on the property. A hand-hewn oak table built around a central kitchen takes center stage, and oversized windows and reclaimed wood preserved from other buildings on the property complete the intimate, rustic-modern atmosphere. It’s home to Chef Ryan Van Winkle’s elaborate dinners, which can seat as many as 12 guests for 3 to 12 courses.
When we entered the restaurant around 4:30 p.m. for our 5 p.m. reservation, Chef Ryan was behind the counter working on prepping our 12-course meal. He had been at it since early that morning. Along with his culinary arts training, a plethora of hands-on experience and a vast knowledge of all things food, Chef Ryan is tall and handsome with an adorable smile to match. We were more than happy to have him as our host.
Our 12-course meal was broken into five flights, each with a wine pairing. With each course, Chef Ryan explained where the ingredients were from and how he paired and prepared them. Much of what we ate came from the gardens on the property, and the few proteins and cheeses that didn’t come from right outside the door were sourced locally as well. Chef Ryan plans his menus based on what’s available, so there was a freshness with every forkful. His culinary talents shined with every plate, as he paired simple items like local country ham, pork jowl and sausage with locally grown delicacies like squash blossoms and lichen. It was unexpected, and it was out of this world.
I definitely plan to go back and visit Chef Ryan again, and next time I might just stay and have more than one meal. A handful of cabins, a house and an inn offer plenty of lodging and make Dawt Mill Resort a perfect weekend getaway year-round.
Not much in this world sounds better than two consecutive days of Chef Ryan’s cooking. Who said dreams don’t come true?
Chef Ryan prepares all of his meals with locally sourced ingredients, many grown in gardens on the property.
Dawt Mill Resort is home to cabins, a house and an inn, all that offer plenty of lodging and make the perfect weekend getaway.
The Chef's Table Menu
1st flight paired with
Nobilo Savignon Blanc 2014
•Bass, Sorrel, Salt, Pepper, Thyme
•Country Ham, Pickles, Lichen, Eggs
•Cornbread, Pork Jowl, Maple Butter
2nd flight paired with
Charles Krug Chardonnay 2013
•Charred Beets, Parsley, Feta, Chimichurri, Pattypan Squash, Carrot
•Squash Blossom, Goat Cheese, Sausage, Okra, Chive Blossom
3rd flight paired with
Force of Nature Tempernillo 2013
•Flank Steak, Tomato Conserve, Chow Chow, Nasturtium
•Cantaloupe, Blackberries, Fennel Blossom, Shiso, Cucumber Ice
4th flight paired with
Root 1 Carmenere 2012
•Pheasant, Sassafras, Kale, Garlic, Bergomot
•Skin, Bleu Cheese, Beets
5th flight paired with
Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2012
•Peaches, Cream, Basil, Rice, Lavender
•Chocolate, Mint, Daylily, Whipped Cream
•Biscuit, Strawberry Jam, SageEdit ModuleShow Tags