Shelby Jones, Director of Communications
Fall has officially arrived at Shaker Village and we’re celebrating with a full lineup of seasonal events and a fresh start at our seed-to-table restaurant, The Trustees’ Table. Dining at Shaker Village is a tradition dear to the hearts of thousands of guests who pull up a chair at our table every year. We have another reason to celebrate with Chef Amber Hokams’ return to the Village!
We caught up with Chef Hokams to get her take on The Trustees’ Table’s next chapter and to get to know her a bit better. Read on for our Q&A, and for some recipes she shared from our current menu that you can make at home.
Get to Know Chef Hokams
The Trustees’ Table uses produce from the certified-organic Shaker Garden, as well as locally sourced meats, cheeses and other ingredients. Why is that important, and how do you work with the Village’s Farm Team to determine what gets incorporated into the garden plan?
The obvious reason is that we want to support our neighbors. I enjoy building relationships with local farmers because they too are in this industry because of passion.
Every winter I have a planning meeting with our Farm Manager Michael Moore to discuss a planting schedule. He is someone who shares my passion for ethical farming and growing the freshest produce possible. We use this time to discuss new projects, ideas, events in our Fresh Food Adventure series and seasonal menu plans for the year.
What are the quintessential dishes you will always find on The Trustees’ Table menu?
FRIED CHICKEN, Shaker Lemon Pie and Tomato Celery Soup!
What’s your personal take on “southern cooking?”
Southern cuisine is comfort on a plate. I am a firm believer that you can taste the love in a dish. Just as the pimento cheese here at the Village always tastes better when Miss Sue makes it. Taking simple food to the next level is all in the details.
The Fresh Food Adventure series is your chance to really show off as a chef. How do you find inspiration for these events?
I start by opening Google Maps and pinpointing certain areas to explore. I enjoy spending my free time researching new cuisines for our themed dinners throughout the year.
Who is your culinary inspiration?
My Nana has always been my inspiration. She lives to feed the people around her, and she admits that cooking is her love language. When we vacation together we sit down early on and map out our meals for the week. We turn on our favorite music and dance while we cook. And, it needs to be said that my Nana is a great dancer, but I have two left feet!
If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life what would it be?
When it comes to feeding myself, I keep it really simple. A 16 oz ribeye, charred on the grill and a side of watermelon has been my go-to meal lately. However, I also eat a ton of tacos at my house. Tacos al Pastor to be specific with fresh corn tortillas, marinated pork shoulder, pickled onions, cilantro, goat cheese, lots of grilled pineapple and green habanero salsa is a meal I have eaten a hundred times.
Can you give us a sneak peak of anything coming to the new menu at The Trustees’ Table?
Back by popular demand, our guests have requested that a pork chop be included on our menu. I am currently testing out my version of sweet potato casserole and an apricot chutney to accompany the chop. Stay tuned!
Recipes to Share
Chef Hokams is sharing her recipes for two of her secret sauces! Try your hand at them at home and share your results by tagging #ShakerVillageKY on social media.
Poblano White Wine Cream
¼ c Sunflower Oil
1 c Onion, medium diced
¼ c Smoked Poblano, skins removed and small dice
2 T Garlic, minced
½ c Roasted Red Peppers
3 c Sauvignon Blanc
1 qt Heavy Cream
2 t Salt
1 c Mexican Chorizo, cooked (homemade or your favorite brand)
Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and pepper, sauté for 30 seconds. Deglaze with wine, reduce to au sec. Add cream and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and chorizo.
Serve over grilled parmesan grit cakes, wilted greens and sautéed wild caught shrimp.
Honey Citrus Vinaigrette
1 c Sunflower oil
¼ c Champagne Vinegar
1 Orange, zested
2 T Fresh Orange Juice
2 T Fresh Lemon Juice
1 T c Honey
2 t Dijon
1 t Kosher Salt
Toss arugula (or greens of your choice) with 2 oz of Honey Citrus Vinaigrette. Top with shaved red onion, diced watermelon, fresh banana pepper and crumbled goat cheese.
Join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Trustees’ Table seven days a week by making an online reservation or calling 859.734.5411.