‘Best Of’: Chef Summer Favorites

Mired in a summer-barbecue rut? We asked area chefs to tell us everything from their favorite burgers on the grill to summer wines. Your back-yard party will never be the same.

Darren Norris, chef/owner at Kushi in DC

Favorite burger on the grill: "A mix of 75 percent beef and 25 percent pork on Martin’s potato rolls with Stubb’s barbecue sauce: “Pork makes the burgers juicy.” Best burger beer: “Sapporo out of a huge can.” How I like my corn: Cuban style—rolled in chili mayo (mayonnaise with chopped chipotles and lime juice) and then rolled in queso fresco. Weird things I’ve grilled: “I wrap prosciutto, garlic, tomato, and mozzarella with outer romaine leaves. It’s my version of a grilled summer salad.”  Favorite summer wines: St. Supéry’s Pinot Grigio for guests (“I don’t really drink much white wine”)—and Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Best way to eat summer fruit: Strawberries on grilled pound cake with basil simple syrup.


Tracy O'Grady, co-owner and executive chef at Willow in Arlington

Favorite burger on the grill: Smoked hamburgers made with Polyface Farm beef on toasted potato buns with Ilchester applewood-smoked cheddar and red-wine-vinegar-marinated and grilled red onions. Best burger beer: Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale. How I like my corn: Grilled with salt and pepper, then tossed with butter, lime, and chipotle chilies. Weird things I’ve grilled: Flatbreads with all kinds of toppings, from pork shoulder to leeks: “They are a real crowd pleaser.”  Favorite summer wines: Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese (2009) and Alain Roy Givry Pinot Noir (2007).  Best way to eat summer fruit: In a fruit crisp or cobbler (“particularly cherry”) with Moorenko’s Danish Sweet Cream ice cream.


Blake Schumpert, chef at Redwood in Bethesda

Favorite burger on the grill: 85-percent-lean ground beef with jalapeño-cheddar or jack cheese on a toasted English muffin. Best burger beer: Köstritzer or a nice Pilsner.  How I like my corn: With red-curry butter and queso fresco. Weird things I’ve grilled: Sweetbreads, ramps.  Favorite summer wines: Chablis and Oregon Pinot Noirs. Best way to eat summer fruit: “A perfectly ripe watermelon or other melon with a little bit of salt and pepper is something I grew up with and still love.”


The full version of this article appears in the July 2010 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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