From SC Chef Ambassador Haydn Shaak and Stage 22 Farms
Since being named the executive chef at Restaurant 17 at Hotel Domestique in 2018, Chef Haydn Shaak has earned a reputation for crafting unique menus inspired by the seasonality of the Upstate.
Located on 30 acres of stunning land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hotel Domestique is reminiscent of a French country chateau. The boutique hotel blends its European-inspired design with contemporary furnishings and art to create inviting spaces that are relaxed yet sophisticated. The hotel offers a variety of amenities and experiences, including extensive cycling routes and exclusive access to seven private, world-class golf courses.
As the on-site restaurant, it’s no surprise that Restaurant 17’s atmosphere is reminiscent of European bistros. Using ingredients sourced almost entirely from neighboring farms, including Stage 22 Farms, Chef Shaak transforms and showcases local ingredients in creative ways.
“The biggest thing for me is that I'm able to work directly with my farmer,” says Shaak. “We're able to sit here and have this relationship where we're basically planning our entire year out.”
Established in 2020, Stage 22 Farms grows a variety of organic fruits, vegetables and flowers for the people and restaurants in the community. An amenity for Hotel Domestique, Stage 22 Farms works closely with the restaurant when it comes to menu planning and events.
“We’re less than two miles down the road from Hotel Domestique, so if Chef Haydn runs out of something, I can run it over there really quick,” says farm manager Craig Weiner.
“The idea is to have everything tied in between the hotel and the farm,” says Shaak. “We can create a whole chef experience where we have a group of people up at the hotel and then we come and we cycle down here and we might be in the fields and harvest some things with the guests. Then we’ll have them come back to the hotel and get to show them how it went from the field to the kitchen to the final product on their plate.”
Farm manager Craig Weiner developed a passion for organic farming while growing heirloom vegetables at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens. For the last three years, he’s been helping to preserve and improve this piece of the Upstate, slowly transforming the property into functioning farmland.
“People are really searching out local food because they realize it has better flavor and a shelf life that will last in their fridge three times as long,” says farm manager Craig Weiner. “We don’t use any synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Everything is one-hundred percent natural. It’s a little more difficult, you need to pay a little more attention to everything that’s going on, but that’s part of the challenge. And it’s the way food should be grown.”
Designed with sustainability and ecological diversity in mind, Stage 22 uses all organic farming methods, including cover crop, crop rotation and natural fertilizers to improve the quality of the soil.
“If you want to talk about hyper-local, this is basically as good as it gets right here,” says Shaak. “As a South Carolina Chef Ambassador, it is an honor to be able to showcase these ingredients. We are trying to do as much as we can on the menu with products from local farms. We get to support local farms and help bring awareness to their farms.”
“In this dish, beets are the star of the show. The two different preparations of the beets bring out the different flavors and putting them together really balances the dish.” – Chef Haydn Shaak
2 lbs. of local beets w/tops
Any kind of beet will work. We chose Chioggia beets, better known as the candy-striped beat, for flavor and appearance, and golden beets, which are sweeter and milder than other beets.
1 pint whole-fat ricotta cheese
4 oranges – navel or blood orange
2 oz hazelnuts, toasted (can use nut of choice if not available)
4 oz microgreens or sprouts
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp local honey
1 tbsp horseradish
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Wash all the beets thoroughly and then pat them dry with a towel.
Preheat oven to 375F. Toss 1 lb. of beets lightly in oil, enough to gently coat the beets, and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and cover first with parchment paper and then with foil.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick can go thru the beets. Be careful not to overcook the beets, so that they don’t become mushy or lose the beautiful color. Let cool for 10 minutes. While the beets are still warm, use a paper towel to rub off the skin. Cut into bite-sized segments and reserve for later.
Peel the remaining pound of raw beets and then slice them thinly. I suggest using a mandoline. Once your beets are sliced, quickly toss them into a seasoned liquid and drain. We chose sugar and apple cider vinegar, but anything will work. Since this step is only to add flavor, it can be skipped at home.
Once your beets are ready, you can put them into a dehydrator or the oven at the lowest temperature, until crispy.
As a shortcut to make this dish at home, I recommend using one pint of whole-fat Ricotta cheese.
If you’d like to challenge yourself, you can make your own ricotta. At the restaurant, we combine two gallons of milk with a half-gallon of buttermilk and cook until 197°F. Once the milk is curdled, add one cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and one cup of apple cider vinegar. Gently stir in with a spatula. Strain the mixture thru cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and let cool. It can be seasoned any way you’d like from here. We chose lemon zest, salt, pepper and fennel pollen.
Zest oranges and save in a separate bowl or container. Peel and cut into segments over a bowl, making sure to save all the juices. Keep segments separate.
Combine orange juice, honey and horseradish into a blender and slowly add oil until emulsification occurs. Season with salt to taste. Then add all the reserved orange zest.
Spread the ricotta on the bottom of a bowl or platter and take the remaining ingredients, except the hazelnuts or nuts of choice, and gently toss them together in a bowl. Reserve some of the dressing to drizzle over top. Using the ricotta as a base, arrange the salad over it and top with the beet chips. Finish with toasted hazelnuts and more herbs and microgreens to garnish.