Combining ethnic preparations with Chesapeake ingredients is a natural marriage for me. I learned about Asian cooking styles and ingredients by traveling to Pacific Rim countries and exploring their open food markets.
Thailand was my favorite eating destination. It is hard to have a bad meal there. I ate the best curries of my life in little huts on the beach with kitchens that had dirt floors. The women making the curries were masters. I would watch the chefs cook in the open-air kitchens, and if I saw a dish that I wanted to try, I would signal for it. The grin on my face was enough to cue the chef to bring another round to my table.
I have not forgotten those flavors, and I have aspired ever since to re-create those curries. It may seem odd to have a restaurant on the Eastern Shore devote so much of its menu to food from cultures halfway around the world, but I see it as an opportunity. We get an abundance of beautiful fresh seafood from the bay that my Asian counterparts would love to have in their kitchens.
I have picked dishes here that frequently find themselves on the Inn at Easton menu; they include my signature soft-shell crab dish inspired from my time working in a Vietnamese kitchen in Australia, a rockfish with Thai green curry, the best Indonesian crab omelet I have ever eaten and clean, bright Japanese ponzu dressing for Chesapeake Bay oysters.
Many of these ingredients can be purchased at specialty grocery stores, or try shopping online. This new trend of getting unusual ingredients mailed to your door is a great time-saver.