‘The strawberries are growing along the east coast again.’ ‘Really? I spotted some ramps while on a walk yesterday.’

Maximizing micro-seasons

Radishes so pink they hurt to look at, soft green beans as vibrant as jade, intoxicatingly aromatic lavender, fresh yoghurt made from goat’s milk, the curly, spicy stem of the garlic plant: Knife & Fork’s menu is an ode to the seasons and nature herself. This is exactly why chef Nate Allen came back to North Carolina: ‘In California I could get everything, all the time. Here in North Carolina we’re bound by micro-seasons: some products are only available for a few weeks a year before disappearing again. Amazing.’

Foraging

Micro-seasons

When I arrived it had only just been made legal to sell alcohol in restaurants here in conservative Spruce Spine. It was so different here I took that as a sign, and made a change.’
- Nate

It sounds a little cliché, and it would be if Nate hadn’t been one of the pioneers of farm to table cooking back in 2009. He traded the luxurious west coast for the rolling hills of the ancient Appalachians.

This is just a snippet of conversation between two employees at Knife & Fork, where everything revolves around fresh, local ingredients.

Foraging in the mountains

Knife and fork

Text: Sanny Visser | Production and video: Wonderland Wood Productions and Sanny Visser | Photography: Paul Geser Halluch

He used to cook for Hollywood’s biggest names, but now the stars of his show are locally sourced vegetables. Chef Nate Allen gave up his Los Angeles life eight years ago to open restaurant Knife & Fork in Spruce Spine, North Carolina, an old mining town with a population of about 2,500.

The locals taught Nate how to forage in the mountains. Armed with that knowledge and a large crate, he regularly undertakes expeditions to look for wild plants like Indian cucumber-root or sassafras.

Knife & Fork, Spruce Spine, North Carolina

2009
Knife & Fork opens in Spruce Spine

Recipe: Nate’s homemade goat’s yoghurt

17 cups of goat’s milk
4 cups of Greek yoghurt
1 cup of cream


Slowly heat the goat’s milk until it reaches around 176 degrees F. Remove from heat and let cool until 104F. Whisk in Greek yoghurt and cream. Pour into glass jars, seal and place into cooler. Seal tightly. Tell the jars you love them and leave overnight. After about 12 hours transfer the jars to a refrigerator. Leave for 8 hours and enjoy perfect yoghurt.

Recipe

2016
Nominated for the JBeard and Knife & Fork moves to a larger space in Spruce Spine

2011
Winner of the WNC (West North Carolina) Chefs Challenge

1990-2009
Chef at (among others) A.O.C. in Los Angeles. Private chef to several celebrities.

Nate Allen in a nutshell

Born in 1978

It sounds a little cliché, and it would be if Nate hadn’t been one of the pioneers of farm to table cooking back in 2009. He traded the luxurious west coast for the rolling hills of the ancient Appalachians.

Foraging in the mountains

Foraging

Radishes so pink they hurt to look at, soft green beans as vibrant as jade, intoxicatingly aromatic lavender, fresh yoghurt made from goat’s milk, the curly, spicy stem of the garlic plant: Knife & Fork’s menu is an ode to the seasons and nature herself. This is exactly why chef Nate Allen came back to North Carolina: ‘In California I could get everything, all the time. Here in North Carolina we’re bound by micro-seasons: some products are only available for a few weeks a year before disappearing again. Amazing.’

Maximizing micro-seasons

Micro-seasons

When I arrived it had only just been made legal to sell alcohol in restaurants here in conservative Spruce Spine. It was so different here I took that as a sign, and made a change.’
Nate

This is just a snippet of conversation between two employees at Knife & Fork, where everything revolves around fresh, local ingredients.

‘The strawberries are growing along the east coast again.’ ‘Really? I spotted some ramps while on a walk yesterday.’

Knife and fork

Text: Sanny Visser | Production and video: Wonderland Wood Productions and Sanny Visser | Photography: Paul Geser Halluch

He used to cook for Hollywood’s biggest names, but now the stars of his show are locally sourced vegetables. Chef Nate Allen gave up his Los Angeles life eight years ago to open restaurant Knife & Fork in Spruce Spine, North Carolina, an old mining town with a population of about 2,500.

The locals taught Nate how to forage in the mountains. Armed with that knowledge and a large crate, he regularly undertakes expeditions to look for wild plants like Indian cucumber-root or sassafras.

Nate Allen in a nutshell

Knife & Fork, Spruce Spine, North Carolina

2016
Nominated for the JBeard and Knife & Fork moves to a larger space in Spruce Spine

17 cups of goat’s milk
4 cups of Greek yoghurt
1 cup of cream


Slowly heat the goat’s milk until it reaches around 176 degrees F. Remove from heat and let cool until 104F. Whisk in Greek yoghurt and cream. Pour into glass jars, seal and place into cooler. Seal tightly. Tell the jars you love them and leave overnight. After about 12 hours transfer the jars to a refrigerator. Leave for 8 hours and enjoy perfect yoghurt.

Recipe: Nate’s homemade goat’s yoghurt

Recipe

2011
Winner of the WNC (West North Carolina) Chefs Challenge

2009
Knife & Fork opens in Spruce Spine

1990-2009
Chef at (among others) A.O.C. in Los Angeles. Private chef to several celebrities.

Born in 1978

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
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