John O’Leary, Executive Chef of Harbour Ridge Yacht & Country Club in Palm City, Fla., says the inspiration behind this dish stems from a deep appreciation for local agriculture and sustainable seafood practices.
Harbor Ridge’s culinary team strives to celebrate the flavors of the region and the season, he adds, as well as support local farmers and fishmongers.
“I enjoy combining our stories,” O’Leary says. “The choice of pan-roasted striped bass, asparagus, cucumber blossoms, and Brandywine tomato water was driven by the desire to highlight the freshness and quality of these ingredients, which bring together the labors near and far.”
Club + Resort Chef (C+RC): How would you describe the flavors?
John O’Leary (JO): This dish is a symphony of flavors. The pan-roasted striped bass offers a delicate, buttery richness that pairs well with the earthy and slightly nutty notes of the shaved asparagus precoce d’argenteuil, a variety of asparagus I came to love after discovering it growing on the sides of walking paths during my time on the Isle of Sark in the Channel Islands. Thanks to the amazing work in Ohio at The Chef’s Garden, the cucumber blossoms bring a floral essence and attractive aesthetic. The Brandywine tomato water injects a pop of acidity that binds the ingredients from the garden and sea.
C+RC: What makes this a successful dish?
JO: Simplicity and the quality of ingredients have always been my keys to success. As I rely on the strengths of my team daily, I also depend on the individual strengths in our vendors. Source locally and eat fresh! It’s the thoughtful balance of flavors and textures that have formed an enjoyable dining experience for the membership. The Brandywine tomato water as a broth not only enhances the taste but also adds a unique element to the plate poured tableside like ocean waves rushing under the fish.
C+RC: What about this dish makes you most proud?
JO: It’s a proud collaboration between hungry minds within the kitchen, recreating classic dishes into modern combinations that showcase ingredients from the local community. The positive impact it has on the membership is showcasing our care in providing dishes that represent healthy, ‘be well’ eating. This dish also highlights the importance of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients that promote a more sustainable approach to cooking.
C+RC: Do you think other chefs might be inspired by this dish? Why?
JO: [This dish] celebrates great flavors, craftsmen and tells a captivating story of location. My goal is to encourage inspiration in both young minds and experienced chefs to explore similar approaches in their culinary journeys. The dish is an opportunity to honor local flavors while nurturing the next generation of culinary innovators, along with upholding the values we’ve learned.