Explore Philadelphia

Digging Deeper

What exactly does “local“ mean? We asked five Philly chefs/restaurateurs how local translates in their kitchens and from the sound of it, they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the (local) walk.

Terence Feury
Top toque at the gracious American bistro in Old City since 2009, Feury earned his stripes at Striped Bass, Le Bernardin and at the helm of the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. At Fork, with partners Ellen Yin and Roberto Sella, Feury realizes his passion for everything from house-made charcuterie and sustainable seafood to urban farming. 306-308 Market St., 215.625.9425

Aimee Olexy
Cheesemonger and partner at Talula’s Table in Kennett Square, and now, with Stephen Starr, Talula’s Garden on Washington Square, Olexy revels in seasonal American food inspired by the farm and garden. 210 W. Washington Sq., 215.592.7787

Mitch Prensky
Not too many chefs have a 75-acre farm at their disposal. But chef/restaurateur/caterer Prensky brings produce, fresh eggs, chicken, sheep and goat cheese from his partner’s Blue Elephant Farm to his Supper table. 926 South St., 215.592.8180

Guillermo Tellez
(SQUARE 1682)
A native of Hidaldo, Mexico, chef Tellez’s resume includes working for Charlie Trotter and the Starr Restaurant Organization. His menu at Square 1682 is seasonally inspired, sourced from local farms and his own garden. 121 S. 17th St., 215.563.5008

Marcie Turney
With partner Valerie Safran, Turney helms with of a trio of restaurants that helped to revitalize the Midtown Village neighborhood. Chef Turney‘s grounded, global fare has earned her national acclaim and her devotion to community supports the farms and gardens from which she sources her ingredients. 110 S. 13th St., 215.546.9300; 106 S. 13th St., 215.546.7100; 105 S. 13th St.

My first concern when creating a dish is the quality of ingredients. So, if it happens that local food is better quality because it‘s picked at its peak, then I am interested. The trick is figuring out who does what the best.–(TERENCE FEURY)

Local to me is my county—Chester County—farms and other small businesses that I can drive to in my neighborhood. –

We’re so local, it’s almost stupid. Then again, I’ve always cooked this way. I source from the farm as well as drawing from the Mid-Atlantic region, New York Finger Lakes, Chesapeake Bay—wherever the best ingredients come from along the East Coast.–

To me, local means working closely with regional farmers. We’ve developed relationships with farms so we have a first-hand knowledge of what’s coming to market.–

Local is knowing that my choices support farmers and growers in my neighborhood, city or region. Local is knowing where food begins and ends. –

New dishes always start with the ingredients. Often, it’s not until I have the product in house that I start exploring the possibilities—testing and tasting and refining the whole while. –(TF)

We keep a calendar, which lets us know what is percolating and where in the community. We commit to some purchases year-round, like honey, eggs, cornmeal, cheeses, milk, butter, and buttermilk.–

Both on our daily harvest menu, vegetarian menu and our seasonal lunch and dinner menus, we source from our farm and other local suppliers. The farm and seasons dictate to me what I’m serving.–

At Square 1682 we treat the items from the farms, and our local sources, with a lot of respect. We let the flavors and textures shine through with the minimum of handling. When we serve them to our guests, they should be able to taste the pristine flavors of the farms.–

I have a chalkboard that lists items brought in each week from the farms. If we get a whole hog, we will use everything and sometimes even give him/her a name on the menu—like Big Betsy, a 220-pound hog from Lancaster.–

Green Meadow Farm capon schnitzel with quail egg, lemon caper sauce.–(TF)

Country Time Farm roasted pork shoulder with cranberries and yam fritters and kale braised in bacon, brown sugar and cider vinegar.–

I love truffled squash risotto with duck confit and roasted apples.–

Chicken and root veggie pot pie with a sweet potato crust.–

Locally foraged hen-of-the-woods mushrooms.–(TF)

Kennett Square mushrooms! They are totally diverse, fresh and sustainably grown.–

Goat cheese and apples from West Chester. Both are great, I see how the cheese is made and I see the apples grow and when they are picked.–