The sweeter side of cuisine gets overlooked far too often, but when a chef’s personality and flavors are as big as Dwayne Ingraham’s, it’s impossible to ignore. Dwayne currently rules the pastry roost in Oxford, Miss., as the Executive Pastry Chef of John Currence’s City Grocery Restaurant Group, providing the desserts for City Grocery, Snackbar, Bouré and Lamar Lounge. We asked this winner of Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen to share what’s in his heart of hearts when it’s time to eat.
What do you eat when…
… you’ve got five minutes to cram food in your face?
Eggs. Whether they are scrambled, poached, over-medium or sunny side up, I love eggs. They are such a versatile food. An egg on top improves everything, and considering that my days are spent inside a bakeshop, eggs are an ingredient I always have on hand.
… you’ve got all the time in the world to prepare and enjoy?
Stewed Okra. Since I’m surrounded by sweets, when I get home and have the chance to cook, I go for something savory. I also haven’t lived close to my family since 2001 and this is the meal that I always crave. Every bite takes me back to sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen, eating myself into a food coma.
… someone else is doing the cooking, but you get to pick the menu?
For a savory dish, I would have to choose yaka mein. It’s a beef and noodle soup (usually served with a soft boiled egg!) that’s a common Creole street food. My grandfather made a damn good yaka mein, and it was always a treat to get this as a kid growing up. For dessert, any plated dessert from Chef Kelly Fields [of Willa Jean/Besh Restaurant Group in New Orleans]. I am infatuated with her ability to take local Louisiana flavors and elevate them to the fine dining level.
Sugary, savory, stewed and plated with eggs all up in it. Dwayne and his menu choices definitely merit the DIME seal of approval.