Chef Patty Griffey
Abingdon Manor, which has received the prestigious Four Diamond rating for 12 straight years, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Greek Revival-style mansion was built as a private residence in the early 1900s. Griffey and her husband, Michael Griffey, bought it in 1995, renovated it and opened it as a luxury inn.
Q: What are your favorite fall and winter ingredients?
A: Squash in both soups and pasta, brussel sprouts and apples.
Q: Which chefs inspire you?
A: Pierre Franey, Lidia Bastianich and Alice Waters.
Q: What's your prediction for the next big food or restaurant trend?
A: Updating the "classics."
Q: Which three cooking gadgets or tools are your favorites?
A: Quisinart food processor, Kitchenaid pasta attachment for the mixer, melon baller for removing seeds from pears and tomatoes.
Q: What was your first job in food? What did you learn?
A: Being self taught, I don't really have a backgound in restaurants and kitchens, but lots of experience in home entertaining. I have learned to look for the freshest ingredients and to follow the flavors in recipes.
Q: What would your dream meal be?
A: Anything Italian served on a patio in Tuscany overlooking the countryside and vineyards.
Q: What's the best tip you can give a home cook?
A: You can make mashed potatoes (white or sweet) hours ahead of time and hold them (with a little drizzle of cream on top, covered in plastic wrap) in a 200-degree oven. When ready to serve, just remove the wrap and stir.
Q: Even chefs don't eat gourmet every night. What is your ultimate comfort food or quick meal?
A: Cornish game hen baked in fat-free chicken broth with lemon, thyme or rosemary with onions, potatoes, brussel sprouts and mushrooms. When ready to serve, remove the ingredients and reduce the liquid to make a glaze for the hens.