One of the things we feel strongly about at Clean Plates is that clean eating can happen wherever you find yourself. Tucker Yoder, the executive chef of the Clifton Inn, a luxurious Relais & Châteaux property, is a sterling example.
Although the Clifton Inn is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, an area of the country still known more for its salted pork products than its consumption of green juice, Tucker honors the amazing bounty of produce that comes out of the region. He has become a culinary force, as well as a keen forager and an advocate for local and heirloom vegetables.
Read on for Tucker’s eating habits. And his name is one to keep in mind: This rising chef is opening his own place in 2015.
What’s a typical day of eating like for you? I always start my day with breakfast, either stone-ground oatmeal with fresh or frozen (picked in season and frozen or dried) fruit, or homemade muffins made from freshly milled flour.
Do you follow any sort of diet? Or do you have any must-eat foods? I don’t follow any particular diet, but I love greens: kale, collards, chard, spinach and arugula.
How do you stay balanced and healthy while working in the restaurant industry? I try to keep from snacking too heavily throughout the day. Plus, I keep active outside of the kitchen by hiking, cycling, playing soccer and chasing after my four kids.
Can you tell me more about how you got into foraging and what you love to forage for? I have always loved being out in the forest and camping. I started exploring and learning what is edible in the woods. I love searching for chanterelles.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your life at home and in the restaurants? We grow a lot of our own vegetables at home, and we make almost everything from scratch including bread, pasta, ramen and pizza. We also try to preserve everything we can in season. This winter I’ll be pulling out some of our pickled and preserved things—such as ramps or dried mushrooms—and working them into dishes.