Beautiful Tea-Inspired Dishes by James Beard-Nominated Chef Alex Perry

Posted by Mimsie Ladner on

James Beard-nominated Vestige Restaurant in Ocean Springs, Mississippi has mastered the art of cooking with tea – more so than any other restaurant that we know of. Perhaps even in the whole world!

Explore some of Chef Alex Perry’s tea inspired dishes along with the stories behind them, as conveyed through Vestige Restaurant's Instagram page. (Be sure to follow them for more drool-worthy shots of their most inventive dishes.)

Vestige tea inspired spring nights dish

Tomatoes, bee pollen, grilled jasmine cream, herbs, LA crawfish

"Personal story time: some nights during lockdown when takeout orders weren’t so good, we’d close up early, and I’d go on long walks through the harbor toward the beach to try and clear my head...like everyone else, we were rudderless desperately trying to navigate a tumultuous maelstrom of uncertainty and anxiety.

Where were we, and where did we need to be? I couldn’t say if such evening constitutionals gave me any clarity, but I remembered the scent of jasmine emanating from the entangled trellises that lined our backroads bringing repose and equanimity. And how that efflorescent smell gave way to saline and smoke as I got closer toward the docks.

This dish is an attempt to encapsulate those memories: cream infused with @gachitea jasmine pearls and burning charcoal, herbs and flowers one could find along the path I’d wended by so many times along with early season tomatoes and crawfish marinated in bee pollen oil and yuzu."

Vestige tea inspired fish

Fennel, radish, grapefruit, strawberry

"Strawberries as a cold weather ingredient seem strange, but around January/February they start popping up. And while they aren’t anywhere close to their spring counterparts in terms of sweetness, there is plenty of berry flavor to be found.

Sakura fermented berries are juiced and blended with koji and fennel oil to create a light sauce along side glazed fennel, sliced radish, preserved grapefruit, and Gulf grouper."

Vestige tea inspired dish

Peach wood smoked salmon, preserved kelp, beets, @gachitea hojicha kombucha

"I love Islay Scotch whisky...the combination of smoke, salt, and seaweed with just a twinge of medicinal flavors is so comforting. I always think of huddling around a bonfire next to the waters edge under moonlight, surrounded by jagged, rocky protrusions while a brisk wind lightly mists everyone’s coats with sea spray.

Even though I’ve never lived that particular night, I wanted to capture it in a dish...smoky ocean flavors, briny kelp, beets redolent with petrichor, roasted green flavors all enveloped in a moody, night sky bowl from one of our favorite potters @potsalot."

Vestige tea inspired dish

Charcoal grilled kabocha glazed with fermented tea honey, whipped cheese, pickled apple pear, apple pear wood oil, long pepper

"With this little cold snap, we’ve fully embraced Autumn. We wanted our opener this week to be everything we love about the season. Carotenoid flavors, fire, smoke, earthy sweets, and spice. Kabocha squash is gently cooked in butter, then slowly grilled over embers while basted with fermented honey that’s been steeped in @gachitea jin jun mei black tea.

After a bit of high school chemistry to make melting salts, @sequatcheese Coppinger cheese is made smooth and silky. And in the spirit of Tsukimi, the Japanese custom honoring the beauty of Fall moon, pickled apple pear rounds are dressed with gold to symbolize the bright, full moons of September and October. Apple pear wood oil and grated long pepper add woodsy, spicy, flavors to get everyone ready for sweater weather!"

To learn more about Vestige Restaurant and Chef Alex Perry, click here.

Want to try cooking with tea? Check out our tips and 11 surprising ways to use tea in your favorite dishes.

 

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