The Farmer Chef: My Weekend With Tyler Brown
Tyler Brown is a very earthy man. The executive chef of Capitol Grille in Nashville’s legendary Hermitage Hotel has a handlebar mustache, drives a big truck and is one of a handful of chefs who is also a farmer.
It wasn’t always that way: Until a few years ago, when the hotel helped raise funds for the Land Trust for Tennessee, Tyler had only grown three tomato plants in his life. But when he saw photos of Glen Leven, a nearby estate protected by the land trust, he got the itch to give farming another try. Now he grows and harvests produce used in the restaurant at Glen Leven and has also learned how to raise cattle. I like a man who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.
Tyler was utterly delightful to watch in the kitchen. He had a true tenderness with the guests and created a menu full of real food they could easily cook at home, including roasted ribeye with tomato chutney, Brunswick stew and buttermilk pie. His sweet onion bisque had three ingredients—onions, butter and cream—plus salt and pepper and a lovely little garnish of smoked bacon and crème fraiche. Every last one of us swooned from the first spoonful to the last.
Sweet Onion Bisque
- 4 large Vidalia onions
- 5 tablespoons whole butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
Simmer onions in butter over very low heat for five hours. Add to a blender and puree until smooth, adding heavy cream to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with smoked bacon and crème fraiche.