Tripveel sat down with Chef Tina Verville of The Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Where did you grow up and/or where have you traveled to that has helped inspire and shape your cooking philosophy?
I grew up in a very small town called Antrim in New Hampshire. It is very remote from the busy world and finding a culinary opportunity there is virtually non-existent. In order to grow into my passion I knew that I had to push myself out of my comfort zone, and on a whim, as soon as I finished college I moved to New Orleans. I learned so much about putting “soul” into cooking which really ignited my passion and help to build my foundation as a chef. I also, very quickly, started building bonds while in New Orleans with my comrades who have become important influences now in my career. The chef I had in New Orleans pushed me and challenged and I learned cooking has no bounds; you learn techniques and manipulate them— when you think about it like that, cooking doesn't seem as intimidating.
Tell our readers an interesting fact or two about yourself.
I am Polish and French. Many think otherwise! I am very proud of my background and grew up with my gram's homemade pierogis and gołąbki at family gatherings.
Tell us about your absolute favorite food and why readers should try it if they haven’t already.
Pho! It can be intimidating if you haven't tried it before, or, entered a restaurant that offers it. The broth is incredible and I love the addition of fresh herbs and sprouts. It is such a wonderful dish and I like to say that it makes your belly happy.
What are three ingredients that you simply couldn’t live without?
Without a doubt, garlic. There is so much you can do with it and so many cuisines utilize it. Tomatoes. Nothing beats a perfectly ripe heirloom tomato. Even so, this is another very versatile ingredient that is a must have. Salt! It can make the world of difference with the most simple dishes.
We love the art behind plating. What do you love about designing the perfect dish?
I love the challenge with my team of creating something new. I love getting excited about ingredients, then thinking of ways to get those flavors to pop. At the same time we are thinking about the textures and visualizing the final product. When you decide a direction and collaborate, it is a very satisfying feeling when it all comes together. You cannot get bored. I think any perfect dish represents not only me, but the skills of my entire crew—which is something we are proud of.
Tell us about one of the most creative dishes you’ve created?
I was so excited when I was introduced to Bao Buns, they are so soft and delicious. We take pork belly and smoke it low and slow for hours. We crisp that up and put it inside the bao with spicysriracha mayo, cucumber kim chee, and julienne local radishes. I really enjoy sharing this with everyone because they are fun and not something you find around New England too often.
Share your most recent awards and accreditations with us!
The Bedford Village Inn has been recognized as a DiRoNA-awarded restaurant since 1996, as well as being the longest standing AAA 4-diamond hotel and restaurant for over 25 years. We have also received, on multiple years, the Wine Spectators Award of Excellence.
What are some of the latest trends you’re seeing in top restaurants across the globe?
Plant-based proteins are very popular along with grains and nutrient rich food. I find people are now seeking out things like Quinoa and Kale instead of just a Burger. Anson Mills is appearing more and more on menus; They make heirloom grains like their slow roasted Farro; by far the best.
What’s your favorite cocktail or liquor?
Hendricks Gin & Tonic.
What do you love about being the Executive Chef at Bedford Village Inn?
This property has so much to it, more than most people know. It is not a single cell restaurant; we have many moving parts including an inn, hotel, banquet hall, a bakery, and a la carte facets. We make everything from scratch and are high volume. We utilize the best products we can find. We are surrounded by incredible farms that we have great relationships with. The staff we have are outstanding. Everyone is very well rounded and taught to adapt to change and circumstance. I have been here for over 7 years and have never felt like I had everything figured out here. The challenge I love and with that my coworkers have become family. This place is so special in many ways, and the owners Jack and Andrea created it and keep it that way.