Chef Q&A: Chef Nat Russell, Tennessee Truffle

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Chef Nat Russell brings Southern charm and locally sourced ingredients to The Tennessee Truffle in Sanford’s Historic District. Newly expanded hours include breakfast, lunch and dinner from Wednesday through Saturday, and the menu changes with what’s in season. Expect a warm welcome, creative dishes, flaky biscuits and house-pickled vegetables on the plate or in jars to take home.

What cuisine is your specialty?
I don’t know if I have a specific cuisine, I’ve worked for years in French, Italian, and Japanese restaurants.  I opened a southern American restaurant and have been studying this for over a year.  I guess I can’t put my finger on just one geological culinary region.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own?
I really enjoy the food and ambiance at the Smiling Bison in downtown Sanford.

What’s your go-to meal at home?
I like to make roasted chicken, red potatoes and vegetables with lemon, fresh herbs from the garden and whole-grain mustard.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients? 
For fresh ingredients I’ll end up at the farmers market every Saturday.

Which kitchen gadget(s) could you not live without?
A well-stocked kitchen has a food processor, a microplane for citrus, Japanese mandolin and a sharp knife.

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid?  
Sad to say I never remember eating a lunch made at home. I was the kid stuck with square pizza and tater tots.  I haven’t had this in many years. I don’t want to ruin my elementary school memories by ever eating that stuff again.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure? 
Almost everything I eat after midnight.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times?
Dijon mustard, sparking water and good pickles.

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