Ask a Chef: Jordan Lloyd on Maryland's Bounty and Giving Back
Hilary DeutschHilary Deutsch
May 17, 2016
Jordan Lloyd, who cut his teeth at Per Se and Citronelle, now steers the kitchen at Bartlett Pear Inn, an 18th-century property that promotes Chesapeake Bay cuisine. Together with his wife Alice Lloyd, who oversees all things business, this husband-and-wife team will bring Beard House guests a taste of what has made their inn a critical and community darling. We spoke to Jordan about all things pork, how giving back to the community helps his restaurant flourish, and why he's so excited to bring Maryland dirt to the Beard House.
What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Beard House event?
Our inspiration comes from the passion and excitement we feel cooking on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Alice and I were both born and raised there, so there’s a sense of responsibility to showcase the brilliant bounty the Eastern Shore has to offer. We have a dirt-to-table philosophy, and look forward to bringing our Maryland dirt to the tables of the James Beard House in New York.
What's a dish on your Beard House event menu that you're especially excited about or proud of, and why?
Asking me to choose one dish over another is like asking a parent to choose which child you love the most! We put great care into every single element that lands on our diner’s tables. If forced to choose, I would say the MeTompkin Bay Oyster Co. Softshell Crab with Catoctin Mountain Farm 1-Year-Aged Prosciutto and Guanciale, Bacon Crème Fraîche, Pork-Fried Croutons, and Stonehouse Farms Egg Gribiche. This dish has so much emotion for me because it reminds me how much my mentor chef Christian Delouvrier instilled in me; how he taught me to appreciate classic French preparations. It also incorporates our most beloved ingredient of the Eastern Shore: the almighty crab. On top of all of that, I decided to use this dish to showcase the very best prosciutto and guanciale we've ever tasted. We cure the pork in-house using the pigs our dear friends at Catoctin Mountain Farms raise and nurture themselves. The genuine integrity of the pork is what puts our prosciutto and cured products above all else being produced in our area.
What’s your guilty-pleasure food?
Basically all pork products that we create from purchasing whole animals and utilizing every bit available. Whether it’s the chicharrones fat that we end up searing our skate wing in, or the headcheese we serve with its own natural bouillon, or even the prosciutto legs we cure for months at a time. The other guilty pleasure I have a (small) problem with is our housemade ice cream. I’m 100% the guy that can eat a whole pint in one sitting. I only ever do this with our housemade selections and tend to get into trouble regularly with our pastry chef, Edith, for stealing her products—but she actually loves how crazy I am about it!
Tell us about the last great meal you ate.
The last great meal I ate was on Monday night with my wife, my mother-in-law, and my children. We roasted a local Shore Nuff Farm leg of lamb and served it with an arrowleaf spinach–bacon ragoût using produce from our private gardens. We also had some first-of-the-season asparagus spears that Alice’s mother brought with her. Being with the people I love the most in my life and sharing a meal produced from the land I so appreciate is my perfect dinner scenario. It doesn’t happen as much I would like, so I really appreciate it when a plan like this comes together!
What are the best places to eat in your city these days?
Talbot County, although small (population: 32,000), has quite a plethora of genuinely great places to eat. One of our favorites is Bistro Poplar with chef Ian Campbell in the nearby town of Cambridge, Maryland. He trained under Thomas Keller at Ad Hoc. His classic French technique is astounding. Out of the Fire has been a real source of inspiration for us. Owner Amy Haines has been utilizing local produce and supporting farmers and the community way before it was cool to do so. She continues to be on the forefront of this great movement today, and her food is always off-the-charts delicious and served by the most lovely people you would ever want to meet!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it to you?
I believe the most productive and effective advice I’ve ever received came from a local businessman our families are close acquaintances with, Steve Hershey. He told us, “However much you give to charity will come back to you way more than you ever imagined.” I took this advice whole-heartedly. We continue to run our business on this philosophy, involving ourselves with community efforts that benefit the people that most need support. I believe our business has flourished as a result of this advice over the years and will continue to do so.
View all upcoming Beard House events and book your seat at jamesbeard.org/events.
Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.