The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

Let’s Carry Contest’s Lone WV Chef to Victory!


It’s time to carry one of our own chefs to victory – and you could win yourself a cool $10,000 in the process!!

To celebrate its 135 years in business, Thomas English Muffins is sponsoring a “Hometown Breakfast Battle” where 135 chefs from across the country were invited to create their own tasty morning dish incorporating a Thomas muffin or bagel. Voters nationwide will chose the winner. That’s where you come in.

Chef Noah MillerOnly one West Virginia chef is in the competition – and it’s our own talented Noah Miller, chef and owner of Noah’s Eclectic Bistro in Charleston. Noah’s contest creation features a delicious combination of braised greens, fried-green tomatoes, country ham and corn on a whole-grain muffin.

“After making it and tasting it, I named my entry ‘Welcome to Appalachia English Muffin’ because I thought it really did speak to our culture,” he said. “Even the muffin is whole-grain to replicate a buckwheat or whole-grain Johnny cake. I’m really impressed how well it came together and how good it tastes.”

But as good as it is, he still needs your help to win.

Welcome to Appalachia English MuffinNoah’s lone West Virginia entry is competing against 134 from other states now through Sept. 27. At that point, only the top 16 vote-getters will advance to the next round, with follow-up voting narrowing the field to 8, 4 and then just 2 leading up through Oct. 25.

You can vote daily, plus share Noah’s entry through Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to help him get even more votes. (And remember, every vote you cast gives you another entry in the contest’s $10,000 prize for the public. Daily voters may also win a supply of Thomas muffins, too.)

The contest slogan is … “135 years. 135 chefs. You decide who wins.” But there’s only one West Virginian, y’all.

Visit to vote for Noah every day – and secure your chance to win a big bunch o’ cash, too.

Vote, share, repeat. VOTE. SHARE. REPEAT!

Stonewall Resort Chef Competing in U.S. Cook-Off

In hot news on the state culinary beat, Stonewall Executive Chef Tim White has been selected as one of 11 finalists to compete in the U.S. Copper Skillet Cook-off Competition in Chicago this week.

Stonewall Resort lamb dishWhat got him there was his recipe for Grilled Rack of Mountain State Lamb with Potato and Parsnip Puree, Minted Peas with Spinach, Butter-Braised Baby Carrots and Red Wine Reduction, which he’ll prepare for a panel of judges in the Windy City tomorrow in hopes of bringing home top honors.

“The sweetness from the parsnips and carrots plays well against the richness of the lamb and bitter tones of the spinach,” White said, “and the mint is a classic pairing with lamb.”

Although the dish isn’t currently offered at the resort’s restaurants, a variation of it does appear on conference menus.

Competing in the “Senior Chef” category, White will also have to use ingredients from a mystery basket plus select pantry items to prepare a dish that would be typical at a conference center like Stonewall.

A panel of judges will select one winner, who will then go on to compete at Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with that winner returning next April to compete in the Global Finals.

Go, Tim, go!


Chef Tim White

It’s the First (Fancy) Ramp Dinner of Spring

Ready for the first ramp dinner of the season?

And a fancy one at that! 

Celebrated West Virginia Chef Dale Hawkins will treat guests to “A Fancy Ramp Dinner: Celebrating Spring Tonics in Appalachia” at 6 pm Saturday, March 29, at Mountain View Event Center in Buckhannon.

The evening will begin with a welcome beverage and ramp queso with corn tortillas, plus a cash bar available as well. Once the dinner begins, you’ll hear from the people who have grown, caught, raised, foraged and crafted the items featured in each dish.

Dishes like: 

  • Buttermilk, Ramp and Bacon Biscuits 
  • Artisan Breads from Jeff Kessler 
  • Bad Ass Beet Salad with Orange Segments and Pea Tendrils 
  • Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon and Wild Leek Vinaigrette, Pickled Red Onions, Farm Eggs and Mushrooms 
  • Gardner Farm Chicken Braised in White Wine and Caramelized Ramps 
  • Gingered Beef Flank Steak with Buttery Mashed Potatoes and Fresh Asparagus 
  • Apple Dumplings with Caramel Sauce and Ellen’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 
  • Iced Sassafras Tea and Mountain Roaster Coffee 

Dinner will be served buffet-style, and vegetarian options will be noted. The cost is $35 per person and tickets must be purchased in advance. Email or call 304-704-2535. 

All profits benefit the New Appalachian Farm & Research Center A 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to support the agricultural community’s efforts of supporting a local food system for West Virginia.

Greenbrier Chef Wins National Culinary Contest

How’s this for a happy ending?

Those who followed last week’s blog item ( on Greenbrier chef Richard Rosendale competing for a chance to represent the U.S. in the “world olympics” of cooking will be thrilled to hear he did exactly that.

The 36-year-old has beat out three other American finalists for the chance to represent our country at the International Bocuse D’Or competition in Lyon, France, on Jan. 23, 2013.

Rosendale chopped his competion Sunday at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., during a marathon five-plus hour challenge in which he had to prepare two protein platters (one chicken, one cod) accompanied by three fancy garnishes.

Executive chef at The Greenbrier since the fall of 2009, Rosendale has more more than 45 national and international culinary medals and is one of fewer than 100 Master Certified Chefs in the country. He’ll now spend the next year in an intenstive yearlong training program leading up to the international contest.

Greenbrier Chef to Appear/Cook on “Today” Show

West Virginia’s culinary scene will get a little nationwide publicity when The Greenbrier’s Executive Chef appears on Thursday’s “Today” show during the 9 a.m. hour.

Richard Rosendale will present two of the resorts classic dishes while also discussing his attempt to represent America in the 2013 Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest in Lyon, France. That competition is considered the “Olympics” of the culinary world, and Chef Rosendale is in the running for one of four spots on the team.

Go, Richard, go!

A West Virginia chef is featured in the new issue of Travel+Leisure magazine – but not for his own restaurant. Let me explain …

In an article entitled “United States of Deliciousness,” the magazine asked “51 of our favorite chefs” (one from each state and D.C.) to share their favorite hometown haunts – where they like to go when they’re not behind the stove in their own kitchens.

Chef Damian Heath from Lot 12 Public House in Berkeley Springs (a great choice, by the way) represented the Mountain State, saying:

“On the rare occasion that I can get out of my own kitchen, my wife and I love to go to the Press Room (in nearby Shepherdstown). The food is always fresh and seasonal, from morels and ramps in the spring to a hearty cassoulet in winters, and there are always plenty of oysters.”

 I had one of my best meals in recent memory up at Chef Heath’s place this winter, so it looks like a trip to the Press Room is order on my next visit to the Eastern Panhandle. 

  • LOT 12 PUBLIC HOUSE, 117 Warren St., Berkeley Springs – 304-258-6264,
  • PRESS ROOM, 129 W. German St., Shepherdstown – 304-876-8777,

Here’s a shout-out to my buddy Paco Aceves, Executive Chef at Stonewall Resort, who is featured in the latest issue of Hotel F&B Magazine, a national publication covering the hotel restaurant industry.

“F&B” is industry-speak for “food and beverage.”

Steve Ludwig, Stonewall’s director of sales and marketing, said the magazine asked Paco the following question: “How do you signal to the guest that you are transitioning from spring to summer ingredients in your restaurant lounge menus?”

His response?

“Our restaurant menus include a changeable backdrop upon which we highlight new items, local ingredients and relay the story of our products and their sources. Additionally, we’ve begun to leverage social media, like Facebook, to communicate menu changes and upcoming events to our patrons,” he said.

“Summer is a wonderful time in West Virginia and the offerings from our local farmers markets really drive the menu. The colors, scents, textures and tastes … really inspire fresh, creative and flavorful menu ideas.  Keeping foods simple and not over powering them with heavy sauces or too many spices keep the flavors true and uncomplicated. Our summertime menu will highlight seasonal fruits and vegetables. They will be incorporated into salads or light soups and lighter entrees.  We’ll do more grilling and sautéing and less braising and stewing.”

In announcing the magazine’s coverage, Ludwig said: “Chef Aceves is a true culinary talent. We’re pleased he’s garnering this type of national recognition.”

Here here!

Chefs plate their creations for guests at Stonewall Resort's West Virginia Culinary Classic. (Photo by Rebecca Devono)

Just when we thought we could eat no more, it was time to sit down to a feast.

The 8th annual West Virginia Culinary Classic wrapped up Saturday evening at Stonewall Resort with a wine-and-cheese reception and live music in the lobby, followed by a gourmet four-course tasting menu in the ballroom.

Guests gussied up in their Sunday best to enjoy:

  • A really nice caramelized scallop with cider-poached quail egg and langostine-crab tamale with a quince gastrique
  • Duck confit salad with chefs greens, toasted walnuts, baby beets and cracklings tossed in a coriander-citrus vinaigrette
  • Roasted lamb loin wrapped in herb pastry with ranchero demi glacé, a meritage of forrest mushrooms, grilled asparagus and mescal bernaise
  • And a TO-DIE-FOR chocolate and Chambord mousse cake with melba sauce and macerated berries, a hazelnut tuile, minted whipped cream and a chocolate cigarette

Everything was good, but Executive Chef Paco Aceves and his crew definitely saved the best for last. People at nearby tables were still talking about that dessert the next morning at breakfast.

If you’ve never been to the Culinary Classic, you have no idea what you’re missing. Next year’s event is set for March 9-12, 2012 – and those who register before March 31, 2011, can lock in this year’s rate of $449, a $50 savings over next year’s cost. Visit for more details.

In case you missed this big news over holiday, I wanted to give a much-deserved shout-out to my friend – and Stonewall Resort chef – Fransicso “Paco” Aceves, who has been selected to cook at the legendary James Beard House in New York City.


He will join four other chefs from Benchmark Hospitality International (Stonewall’s parent company) to cook a seven-course holiday dinner there on Dec. 16. It’s the sixth consecutive year chefs from Benchmark properties have been invited to cook at the James Beard House. Former Stonewall chef Dale Hawkins also received the honor a few years ago.

Before moving to the Lewis County resort, Paco was executive chef at Charleston’s Bridge Road Bistro under the direction of Robert Wong. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and worked in some pretty high-profile kitchens before landing in West Virginia.

He has been a banquet chef at the four-diamond La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa in Santa Fe and sous chef at the Houston Country Club in Houston, where he trained under Certified Master Chef Fritz Gitschner. (There are fewer than 100 Certified Master Chefs in the world, by the way.)

During his tenure there, Paco was chosen by Gitschner to participate as part of the United States culinary team at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France, one of the world’s most distinguished culinary competitions. He also apprenticed at Handke’s Cuisine in Columbus, Ohio, where he trained under another Certified Master Chef, Hartmut Handke.

With credentials that impressive, it may come as no surprise that he’s cooked at the James Beard House before.

Way to go, Paco!

The Benchmark Holiday Dinner will begin at 7 pm on Dec. 16 with an hors d’oeuvres and wine reception, followed by a seven-course chefs tasting menu starting at 8. Reservations can be made by calling the James Beard House at 212-627-2308. The cost is $130 per person for members of the James Beard Foundation and $170 per person for the general public.   

The James Beard House was home to the storied James Beard, America’s first celebrity chef who is celebrated today as the dean of American Cookery. A gifted impresario who along with his great friend, Julia Child, led the way for many of today’s celebrity chefs, James Beard established cooking schools and published more than 20 important cookbooks, many of which are still in print.