Meet the Chef Behind Red’s Table in Virginia
Astri Wee Photography
A native of Fairfax Station, Virginia, Adam Stein, executive chef of Red’s Table in Reston, said that cooking has fascinated him since childhood. He remembers watching cooking shows, especially those featuring Julia Child, Martin Yan, and Jacques Pépin. In addition, his grandmother was a terrific baker, a fact that has inspired him as well. He remembers that even as a child he was baking cookies and breads for the family.
After graduating from college, Stein attended the culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, but he decided eventually to work in local kitchens. He even got his first executive chef position at The Nat Porter in Warren, Rhode Island.
When he moved back to Virginia several years ago, he worked in several area restaurants before the owners of Red’s Table hired him. That was a lucky decision for both the owners and for Stein. They got a talented chef, and he got to work in a kitchen that sources farm-fresh ingredients. Stein gets his inspiration from local, regional, and seasonal ingredients; as a result, Stein’s fare is fresh, imaginative, and very American.
Now firmly established at Red’s and with a successful chunk of time there under his belt, Stein says that he continues to keep true to regional seasonal fare. “I tried to expand the friendly dishes,” he said, “by adding salmon and then beet kimchi.” Although he does change the menu around, he said the most popular dishes have been the winter cassoulet, the pumpernickel pappardelle, and — always — the burgers. “We brought back the goat cheese fritters because people loved them,” he says. And, he pointed out the fried chicken, bathed in buttermilk and dipped in cornmeal, is a top seller too.
No wonder that folks find Red’s Table such a must-go-to restaurant: The food is top-notch, and the lakeside setting is picturesque.