Adam Schop of Ms. Lilly's and Ms. Lilly's 7A cooks up a delicious mackerel dish with personal chef and culinary nutritionist Diane Henderiks
Adam Schop has an intense curiosity and passion to explore the diverse cuisines the world has to offer. Stephen Starr has dubbed this rising star chef as “almost an archaeologist of food”. For the past two decades he has tackled French, Japanese, Latin, and now Caribbean cuisines.
Adam is a native New Yorker who spent much of his early career in the western United States at fabulous restaurants such as Lon’s Hermosa Inn, Michael’s Restaurant at the Citadel, Restaurant Hapa, and Zinc Bistro. He then cooked his way east through DeLaCosta in Chicago and Le Diplomate in our nation’s capital before arriving back in the Big Apple to wow New Yorkers at Nuela and now Miss Lily’s. Adam has a deep appreciation for fresh ingredients and bold flavors that he masterfully combines to create a delightful dining experience.
Now let’s get Adam’s take on healthy cooking and eating…
Diane: Do you see a trend with diners seeking better-for-you options on the menu?
Adam: There’s more interest in eating lighter and healthier than I’ve ever seen. The biggest contributing factor to eating healthier has to be the access to massive amounts of information regarding longevity and the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Diane: What’s your definition of “healthy eating”?
Adam: I define healthy eating as balance and moderation.
Diane: What is your secret to cooking healthier without sacrificing flavor?
Adam: Caribbean ingredients lend themselves to a healthy diet. For instance, in this grilled mackerel dish, you get the high fiber and immune system benefits of the coconut, omega-3s of the mackerel, and the whole-body goodness of a green like kale. And the techniques used on the islands and at Miss Lily’s — like grilling and pickling — pack dishes with tons of bright flavors.
Diane: What is your favorite dish on your own menu and why?
Adam: Jerk Chicken is my favorite and Jamaica’s iconic dish; it epitomizes Jamaican cuisine for most people and gets a lot of attention — rightly so! I love the flavors incorporated into the jerk seasoning and the way the chicken absorbs the smoky flavor from the grill and the heat from the Scotch bonnet chilies in the jerk sauce. Then you top it off with a bit of mango chutney and spicy escovitch cucumbers, and you’ve got a totally crave-worthy dish. At Miss Lily’s, it’s made with a lot of love, time, and consideration, from the brining and marinating to the slow-cooking over the grill.
Diane: How about an update on what’s new and exciting in your world?
Adam: We’re always excited to talk about our line of homemade Miss Lily’s sauces. We have a Jerk BBQ, a Rass Hot Jerk BBQ, and a Jerk Marinade that are perfect for spicing up chicken, shrimp, meat, or veggies you’d throw on the grill for friends during the summer. The Jerk BBQ sauce is made with classic Jamaican ingredients that are healthy and available fresh like scallions, Habanero chilies, ginger — and Scotch bonnet peppers, of course.