Written by Emily Stein, Youth Programs Coordinator

I spend a lot of time in the Tremont kitchen. This is partly because, as Youth Programs Coordinator, I communicate information to our chefs about upcoming groups and their dietary needs. Mostly, though, it’s because I know that if I walk into the kitchen I’ll get fed. As I once told our Lead Chef, Sherry Pressley, “I know which side my bread is buttered on.”

Have you ever walked into the dining hall on a cold, rainy day to find a big pot chili waiting for you with all the fixin’s? That’s kitchen love right there.  

Everyone who visits Tremont has some idea of what our kitchen team does. They do the titanic work not only of cooking and serving our food, but also planning around our dietary needs, washing all our dishes, and keeping that famous Tremont salad bar stocked. The team even checks the weather every day and modifies meals accordingly. Have you ever walked into the dining hall on a cold, rainy day to find a big pot chili waiting for you with all the fixin’s? That’s kitchen love right there.  

But this gargantuan task isn’t all that our amazing chefs do. 

New Dishes Coming Soon

I sat down with Beth Steele, our Chef and Food Services Manager, to find out what else is going on behind the scenes and whether I can try a bite. As it turns out, the team is cooking up (sorry) some exciting new dishes.

“We feel like our vegan and vegetarian staff and participants get left out,” Beth said, “So we’re going to pump up that side of the menu.” As I write this, Cory, our Food Service Assistant Manager, is testing out brand new vegetarian and vegan main dishes and sides—and modifying them for the Tremont kitchen and to appeal to all our participants.

Now we’re not just talking about a little plate of veggie burgers off to the side here. We’re talking homemade pimento cheese grilled up in a sandwich and served with a side of homemade tomato soup. Portabella mushrooms stuffed with freshly sautéed vegetables and topped with parmesan cheese (or a vegan substitute). And who could forget Sherry’s famous grits and greens?

As Beth says, “You can’t go wrong with anything that’s got a butter sauce.” And don’t worry, vegan friends; we have a delectable olive oil-based version for you too.

Recipes from the Tremont Kitchen

How awesome is our kitchen team? They’ll even share their recipes (Sherry’s gluten-free cranberry white chocolate chip muffins, anyone?)—just ask!

Here’s a dish straight from Beth that we can all enjoy at home, especially those of us trying to figure out how to use all this produce we bought before it goes bad.

Easy, Healthy Pasta Sauce

  1. First, grab your veggies. They could be onions, tomatoes, squash, peppers…whatever you have on hand.
  2. Chop them up (carefully!) into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Pour a little oil into a pan and sauté those bad boys over medium-low heat with seasoning to taste. Beth recommends basil, oregano, and other Italian seasonings, but she cautions, “Don’t go crazy on this.” Even just salt, pepper, and garlic will be great.
  4. Cook your veggies down until you have a sauce-like consistency, and you’ve just made an easy, healthy, one-pot veggie sauce for your pasta.

Truly, I can’t celebrate our kitchen team enough. They arrive before the sun comes up and leave after it goes down. They ensure that every single person, regardless of their allergies or dietary restrictions, is well fed. They are constantly innovating, improving—and letting us taste test! 

Beth, Cory, Sherry, Karen, Gary, and Dylan don’t just feed us. They love us. I couldn’t agree more with Beth: “I am so lucky to have them.”

Learn More about Food at Tremont Institute