Food & Drink

Chef Brian Waters of Saltus River Grill: 'I would be completely devastated if I couldn't use butter anymore'

Brian Waters is the executive chef at Saltus River Grill in Beaufort.
Brian Waters is the executive chef at Saltus River Grill in Beaufort. Submitted photo

Chef: Brian Waters

Restaurant: Saltus River Grill

City: Beaufort

What is a signature dish you're known for at home?

Since I miss most dinners with my family, I try to make a proper breakfast every morning. This could be anything from a cheese omelet for the kids to a toasted English muffin with poached egg, prosciutto, goat cheese and arugula salad with sherry vinaigrette and pickled red onions for me and my wife. But the dish I'm most proud of making at home is my braised beef short rib ravioli. I serve it with brown butter cream, shaved parmesan, oregano, lemon zest and toasted walnuts.

Is there a food or drink that you can't live without?

I guess I would be completely devastated if I couldn't use butter anymore. Whether it's simply spread on bread or used to brown a piece of meat, I couldn't replace it. I would also be very depressed if I couldn't have bourbon. I do love an Old Fashioned to help signal the day's end.

As a chef, do you ever grapple with the question "Do I make it from scratch, or buy it at the store?"

Never. As a chef, I truly get excited to cook everything. Cooking with fresh ingredients means better flavor and nutrition. I really love working with farm-fresh ingredients because they're so flavorful you barely have to do anything to them to let them shine. But it's the ritual and repetition that I'm drawn to as a cook. Cutting vegetables and butchering fish and meat is something I'll do for my entire career.

When cooking at home or at work, do you prefer to use recipes or wing it?

Maybe a little of both. If it's something I've never made before, I like to research the dish or ingredient before I dive right in. It's helpful to understand tradition before putting your own spin on things. But the stronger your culinary foundation is, the more you can wing dishes, and the better they'll taste.

Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.

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