First Look: The Farmhouse at Serenbe
The new executive chef, Brian Moll, brings a root-to-stalk approach to cuisine, cultivating a menu that’s as nourishing as it is appealing
What initially drew you to Serenbe?
For the last few years, I’ve been looking for land myself to start growing my own vegetables. The fact that there is so much land, the stage is kind of set here. It has a great farm-to-table restaurant; it has the farm supporting it. The community is all very progressive and forward-thinking in that way. It was a natural fit.
What changes do you have planned?
A shift into more vegetable-forward dishes. It’s going to be very vegetable-centric, with protein being more of a garnish and a supporting character, not the main character. There will definitely be a pasta [dish] on the menu at all times. The food will highlight Serenbe Farms, of course, and our great local farmers. A lot more whole-animal butchering, so we’ll get in quarter cattle, half pigs, whole chickens.
How will the new menu reflect that?
You’ll see less protein on the plate, but you’ll see it used more in braises, in roasts, in stocks. The way you add sauce to the dish will still give you the umami of protein, but it doesn’t have to be a 10-ounce steak. Using the whole vegetable is using the greens much like the root, and using the vegetable even when it’s not in season. We’ll be able to preserve and pickle a lot, with supporting help from Serenbe Foods.
Tell us about your progression to a more vegetable-centric plate.
In America, we want things faster and more plentiful, so we’ve gotten into a trend of producing more. Here, we want to waste less. I studied nutrition in college, so it had always been in the back of my mind: “We need to make people eat better,” which comes down to education, and I think this is a form of education where we can teach people where food really does come from
You’ll also be sourcing from The Farmhouse Garden.
We’ll be able to do specialty herbs and fruits and things you may not see on a farm. It’s easy for us to access for garnish, and we’ll do dinners out in the garden and show people exactly what we do. Anyone who has grown a pot of tomatoes on their back porch will say it was the best-tasting tomato they’ve ever had.