Blair Wilson, the new executive chef at Max’s Harvest in Delray Beach, began his love affair with the culinary world in college, when he did catering work at a historical farm near his home in Alexandria, Virginia. Eventually, his passion for cooking overwhelmed everything else, and he went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America. Wilson comes to Max’s Harvest by way of Miami, where he won numerous accolades as the executive chef at the Surfcomber Hotel. Here, chef Wilson talks all things meat, veggies, and farm-to-table. (561-381-9970)
PBI: Since you arrived at Max’s Harvest, you’ve added refinements in terms of food and presentation. What’s coming up for the season?
Wilson: My goal is to fortify my network of farmers and base everything around what they have to offer. Along with nine other chefs, I’ll be part of a chef’s garden at Sun Fresh Farm and Ranch. We’ll each have a plot of land, and the menu will reflect what I plant. It will be more vegetable- and seafood-driven than before.
PBI: You’re trained in whole-animal butchery and charcuterie. Any plans to do that here?
Wislon: Butchery, yes. I have suppliers who can provide whole cuts of meat. Charcuterie would be more difficult because of space constraints, but look for items such as terrines, patés, and forcemeats.
PBI: Describe your favorite meal.
Wislon: I grew up around the Chesapeake Bay, so I’d say lots of oysters and crabs—along with tons of cold beer.
PBI: What would we see if we looked in your refrigerator?
Wilson: Lots of farm-fresh eggs, cases of sparkling water, some sort of IPA, and a rosé for my wife. [Also,] goat cheese, feta, and tons and tons of veggies.
PBI: How do you see the current state of the farm-to-table movement?
Wilson: I’m afraid the impact has been diluted for many consumers, but there’s a group of like-minded chefs who are trying to do the right thing. My goal is to bring integrity and humility back into the process. In the end, it’s just about food that is good, clean, and consistent, and it’s important to know where it comes from.