Navy Yard’s Shilling Canning Company is hosting A Taste of the Chesapeake on November 18-19, bringing together award-winning chef Spike Gjerde and Jon Shaw of Karma Farm in collaboration with executive chef and owner Reid Shilling. The powerhouse group will treat guests to regional cuisine focused on sustainability and fresh ingredients. We caught up with Shilling in advance of the two-night event to learn more.
District Fray: What inspired A Taste of the Chesapeake?
Reid Shilling: This is Shilling Canning Company’s second collaboration dinner. This time, [we are] honing in on a very important region, our backyard, in partnership with chef Spike Gjerde and Jon Shaw of Karma Farm. Spike is really at the forefront of locavore dining in the DMV area. His [restaurant] Woodberry Kitchen, which opened in Baltimore in 2007, started procuring local produce out of a desire to get better quality ingredients. As a fellow Baltimorean and someone who I really look up to, I couldn’t think of a better partner for this dinner than Spike. And just as our previous dinner did, a portion of the proceeds from this dinner will benefit a nonprofit. As our guest, we’ve asked Spike to select a beneficiary. Farm Alliance of Baltimore supports urban farmers, builds community and food sovereignty, and promotes solidarity and interconnectedness tied to the city of Baltimore. We are really happy to be supporting this collective of neighborhood growers with such an important mission in their community.
Why bring Gjerde and Shaw together at Shilling?
At a time where the industry is really suffering, this is about collaboration, solidarity and shining a light on something that we can’t forget – supporting the community at large. Spike and I have similar mindsets and goals as chefs, and this event brings awareness to what we do. Beyond just being a restaurant, supporting restaurants like Shilling Canning Company and Woodberry Kitchen means supporting the employees, the growers, the producers and all the things in between that make those aspects run smoothly. The people out in the fields harvesting, the fishermen in their boats, the mechanics fixing the tractors – this touches so many beyond the façade of a restaurant.
What safety precautions are you taking to maintain social distance?
Set in The Yards overlooking the water, not on a busy street and surrounded by our culinary garden, Shilling Canning Company really takes a lot of pride in our location and the safety of our guests and staff. We just set up our tents and heaters on our patio: the tents are open on the sides so the roof keeps the heat in, but there’s still airflow from it being open. And for diners who would prefer to enjoy this at home, they can order through Tock or Toast. We offer complimentary delivery within the 20003 zip code.
Walk us through some of the dishes that will be served at A Taste of the Chesapeake.
All of the produce on [the] Taste of the Chesapeake dinner menu will come from Karma Farm in Monkton, Maryland – a farm that Spike and I both share an affinity for. Spike and I will alternate courses. Guests will start off with my first course: red ace and golden beets with black walnut pierogi to start. The fish course, Chincoteague fluke, is Spike’s. He’s incorporating daikon radishes prepared two ways – braised and fermented – along with a carrot puree, pickled mustard seed and [DMV-based] Keepwell soy. I’ll be making the wood-roasted New York strip from Seven Hills Foods in Virginia served with a porridge of rogosa squash and Carolina Gold rice, Beauregard sweet potatoes, collard greens, foraged mushrooms, and marrow bordelaise. The dessert is Spike’s: a buckwheat crêpe with Bartlett pear, candied parsnip, quince syrup and maple.
What is Shilling Canning Company’s approach to modern Mid-Atlantic cuisine?
We serve seasonal cuisine highlighting ingredients from around the Chesapeake region, and currently offer a $55 three-course menu that changes weekly based on our network of partner farms, with options to accommodate vegetarians and pescatarians. Some of our most recent dishes include truffle grits with Baltimore Canyon lobster [and] Cape May scallops. We also have an à la carte menu [featuring] some of our signature dishes like Surryano Ham, country pate [and] buttermilk-braised dumplings. This menu is served at our sidewalk café and at a select number of tables inside on a first come, first served basis. Almost 100 percent of everything we source for Shilling Canning Company is local from within the Chesapeake region. We also practice minimal waste. Our bar program headed up by beverage director Jake Weinstein echoes the same approach as the kitchen, working with local and small-scale businesses and distillers like Republic Restoratives, Filibuster and Don Ciccio e Figli to make cocktails using ingredients also sourced from local farms or from our culinary garden.
What else should guests be excited about at this event?
All guests will enjoy a welcome cocktail and snack, as well as a sweet gift from the kitchen at the end of the dinner. They will [also] take home Spike’s iconic Snake Oil hot sauce. Guests who reserve early also have the chance to order a CSA bundle from Karma Farm with some of the ingredients they’ll see throughout the menu. We are also accommodating those who are vegetarian and pescatarian.
Reservations and takeout orders for A Taste of the Chesapeake on November 18-19 can be placed for $125 a person here. View the menu here. To learn more about Shilling Canning Company, visit www.shillingcanning.com.
Karma Farm: 16345 Old York Rd. Monkton, MD; karma.farm; @karma.farm
Shilling Canning Company: 360 Water St. SE, DC; www.shillingcanning.com; @shillingcanningcompany
Woodberry Kitchen: 2010 Clipper Park Rd. Baltimore, MD; www.woodberrykitchen.com; @woodberrykitchen
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