Tristan Chef Turns Young Son Into Professional Forest Forager

chef_nateAlthough he’s not credited on the menu, a two-year old had a hand in creating a dish which last night premiered at Tristan.

Alex, executive chef Nate Whiting’s son, helped gather the pine branches for pine-smoked dayboat sea scallops, served on a charred pine wood plank with celery root puree and smoked grapes.

“He’s very meticulous, like me and his mama,” Whiting says of his efforts to coax Alex into picking up more than one branch at a time.

But Alex remains on the job: Whiting next plans to take him on an acorn hunt. The nuts are bound for a dish that’s in the “alpha testing” stage, Whiting says.

“We’re working on a dish for Share Our Strength that’s an oak-infused cream rice pudding,” Whiting says, adding that he’s toying with the idea of adding candied acorns to the dessert. “But they look a little green. They might be too tannic.”

Whiting didn’t say whether he’s yet asked Alex for his opinion.

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