Executive Chef Aishling
Stevens at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg,
New Jersey takes time out from the kitchen to speak with Luxury
Experience about her inspired culinary approach, foraging, and her favorite
items on the menu. She also graciously shares her recipe for Bison Short
Rib, Sassafras, and Sunchoke.
Executive Chef Aishling Stevens
Luxury Experience: After
staying at the Crystal Springs Resort in March 2022 and dining at the Crystal
Tavern, one of the resorts 12 dining outlets, we were intrigued to learn more
about Executive Chef Aishling Stevens.
Chef Aishling, thank you for
taking time to speak with Luxury Experience. What is the culinary focus at
Crystal Springs Resort?
Chef Aishling: Crystal
Springs Resort offers one of the most extraordinary culinary experiences in the
Northeast. This epicurean oasis invites discerning diners to savor the flavors
of locally grown and produced cuisine with a myriad of tantalizing choices. The
Resort boasts 12 seasonal dining outlets, including the highly acclaimed 4-star
Restaurant Latour, showcasing one of New Jersey's most stellar menus which
includes ingredients procured by our foraging team, plus one of the country's
only all-foraged bar botanical programs.
Luxury Experience: Are
there any special events held during the year?
Chef Aishling: The
Resort offers annual culinary events such as the New Jersey Wine & Food
Festival, the New Jersey Beer & Food Festival and more.
We also offer a Wine Dinner
series. The most recent one was the Far Niente Family Vineyards Wine Dinner on
March 2, 2022.
Check their website for a
full list of upcoming events at:
Luxury Experience: What are
a few of your favorite items on the menu?
Chef Aishling: My current
favorites are the Burnt onion raviolo with caramelized cauliflower, and farm
egg yolk; Pork jowl with black lentil, braised celery, wild Windsor pear, and crispy
pig ear; and Rabbit roulade with kohlrabi top velouté, and root vegetables. I
have a tendency to fall in love with dishes that utilize a product which
usually carries a negative stigma but is presented in a beautiful and tasty
way. (Examples: beef tongue, pig ear,
Luxury Experience: Did you
go to Culinary School? If so, where? Who
inspired you to become a chef?
Chef Aishling: My career
path started here in New Jersey, where I was born and raised. As the daughter of a nutritionist, I learned
early in life to pay attention to the impact that high quality, seasonal
ingredients have on the body. I first started working in restaurants at the age
of 12, which was the beginning of my industry experience including every back,
and most front of house, positions.
After graduating with a degree
in Commercial Recreation & Hotel Management, I took a marketing role with
The Atlantic Club, but found that the mostly office job was not a fit for my
interests. Always seeking a good adventure, I then headed off on a backpacking
trip to Australia, which turned into over a decade living and working down
under. There, I found myself attracted to what was happening in the kitchen and
committed to training to be a chef.
I spent a lot of time on
Queensland's Sunshine Coast. It was a beautiful resort destination well known
for its dining scene and offered the opportunity to get to know the local
farmers and anglers supplying the restaurants, which is a practice continued to
this day. After my stay in Australia, I
moved to the United Kingdom for a year and worked as a Sous Chef at The Walpole
Arms, a Michelin Bib Gourmand farm-to-table country pub. The restaurant was
owned by a farmer and hunter who would bring their hunted game back to the
restaurant each night. Working with such fresh products was exciting for me and
gave me the love for promoting underutilized proteins and different cuts of
animals. I reveled in the preparation
While planning my return to
Australia, I stopped in the U.S. to visit with family. Although I was not
actively looking to work here, the Americana Hospitality Group offered me a
job. It was my first chef/management position overseeing more than 20 employees
and I was able to introduce my culinary philosophies to the team while
developing farm partnerships, catering, and operational initiatives.
This role provided the perfect
opportunity for me to join the Crystal Springs Resort team as the Resort Sous
Chef, overseeing the popular Crystal Tavern and outdoor Chef's Garden. I was
then promoted to Executive Chef in February 2018, with the responsibility of
running all Resort culinary operations as well as head Chef for Restaurant
Luxury Experience: When not
working in the kitchen, how do you like to spend your time?
Chef Aisling: I love the
outdoors and being active, so depending on the season, I am generally doing
something outside. I have two dogs and
live very close to the beach, so I can be found almost every day going walking
with them along the shore. Aside from
that, I enjoy yoga, surfing and of course, eating. I have a very demanding work schedule, but if
it allows, I love to travel - which is where I tend to get quite a bit of food
Executive Chef Aishling Stevens
- Bison Short Rib, Sassafras, and Sunchoke Recipe
Chef Aishling Stevens graciously
provides her delicious recipe for Bison Short Rib, Sassafras, and Sunchoke to
tempt your palate into making a trip to Crystal Springs Resort.
Chef Notes: One
of the most popular items on our current menu items is our Bison Short Rib,
Sassafras, and Sunchoke. Served with roasted sunchokes, crispy shallots and
Brussels sprouts, this dish is very popular with our guests during these colder
Bison Short Rib
Method: The short rib is
cured for 24 hours in a sassafras cure with fennel seed, juniper berries, salt,
and sugar. Then, it is slow cooked until
tender. A sauce is also made with the
sassafras which is rich with flavors of birch beer. Served with roasted sunchokes,
crispy shallots and Brussels sprouts, this dish is very popular with our guests
during these colder months.
I find that the sassafras flavoring makes this dish interesting. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a native
tree to North America with leaves and root/stem bark that contain the compound
safrole, which has a flavor profile much like root beer. Safrole is also found
in nutmeg, black pepper, star anise, cinnamon, and basil. The leaves are best
harvested young and green in the spring, and when dried and powdered, it is
referred to as "filé" and most famously used in gumbo as a replacement for
okra. The root is best dug in the fall and through early spring when the flavor
is more concentrated in this part. It is an interesting ingredient for this
time of year.
Read more about Crystal Springs
Resort in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Wine Cellar,
and Adventures sections.
For more information or to make
a reservation at Crystal Springs Resort, please visit their website: www.CrystalGolfResort.com or call them at:
Crystal Springs Resort
1 Wild Turkey Way
Hamburg, New Jersey 07419
YouTube: Crystal Springs Resort
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