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Cooking with Scott Cumpstone Episode 1

Scott Cumpstone and I share a passion for food and cinematography. We met at a holiday party last year and immediately bonded over our desire to create beautiful content surrounding the culinary world. Both of us have been searching for an outlet to be creative - the content we both produce for clients can be soul sucking. Scott's talents shine in the kitchen, with his wife Alicia by his side. He's too modest about his skills and experience, in his spare time he cooks alongside Matt Maienshein at the seasonal BYOB series "Mulberry".

We're inviting you on this journey as Scott experiments in my kitchen with his favorite, seasonal recipes and I document it!

“So Scott, what do you do?”....

When you get to a certain age that’s usually one of the first questions you ask when you meet a person for the first time. With-that-said, it’s always one of the hardest questions for me to answer. At 32, I’m not exactly sure what it is I do. All I know is that I’m a creator. Whether it’s film, food, or music, I always try my best to make something, although sometimes in vain. I hopped around careers in the above mentioned industries, but one thing remains constant; I love to cook for people.

I started writing out a long origin of my life in the kitchen. I felt a need to recount all the years or experience and “paying of dues” to make myself feel credible; to reassure myself I still belong. When you’re a chef, you’re part of a club, and once you find yourself on the outside looking in, it can feel isolating. But it soon hit me, that it’s all just a sense of belonging. And being a professional chef or not, food provides a sense of inclusion. Whether cooking professionally, or just for friends or family, you’re inherently creating a feeling of intimacy. And that’s why we love it so fucking much.

I’ve been fortunate to have a relationship with a few amazing chefs here in Philadelphia. I suppose I live vicariously through them. Once a month I even collaborate with a good friend for his amazing pop-up dinner series called “Mulberry”, in which I try to keep up and not make too many mistakes. Wanting to be involved in even more, I met Briana at Double Knot to shoot the shit, and pick her brain about culinary opportunities outside a traditional kitchen setting. She suggested doing a photoshoot, so we teamed up to to create a late-winter menu featuring seasonal ingredients from local purveyors. I had many late nights trying conceive the perfect menu, and then I just thought to myself, “Fuck it. I’m just going to make some really simple dishes. Food that I would serve to friends, to let them know they belong.” I went down to Riverwards and bought beautiful produce and picked up some stellar vinegars from Keep Well. This is what we made...

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Pepitas, Sage, Citrus Crème Fraîche. This is a stupid-simple, yet delicious, soup that anyone can make. It’s delicate yet filling. The soup is simply squash (roasted with cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, brown sugar, and a little cardamon) shallot, chicken stock, and a little cream. I also added some fresh sage and toasted pepitas. It's finished with Crème Fraîche that’s folded with agave, orange juice and zest, and Bitter-Lemon Vinegar from “Keep Well”.

Seared Scallops, Brussels & Endive, Winter Citrus, Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Pistachio. This is one that I’ve never done before, but it worked out. Scallops are simply seared, and there is a little salad of shaved brussels and endive, with supremes of grapefruit, cara-cara, and blood orange. I dressed it with some ramp-vinegar and olive oil. I toasted some pistachio and buzzed it into a dust, and cut the nuttiness with a broken pomegranate vinaigrette. Complex flavors but really light to the palette.

Carbonara Pappardelle, Brussels, Leek, Romano, Crispy Shallot. Carbonara is one of my favorite foods of all time. This is just a twist on the classic. I use pappardelle because it’s absolutely delicious. The sauce is composed of shallot, leeks, chicken stock, egg, a touch of cream, cracked pepper, and a combination of Parmesan and Romano cheese from DiBruno Bros. I finish with charred brussels, crispy shallots, and parsley.

NZ Lamb Chops, Bok Choy, Roasted Garlic Tomato Butter, White Bean Purée. This is one of my go-to dishes. Incredibly rudimentary, but so damn good. The lamb is marinated for a few hours in pinot noir, thyme, and sorghum molasses vinegar. The chops are simply seared and finished in the oven. I roast garlic and reduce tomato juice (I know, not seasonal for March, but I really don’t care) and then fold both into room-temp butter. That compound butter is then added to sautéed purple Bok Choy. The white beans are simply cooked in stock and then buzzed with roasted garlic, butter, and bitter-lemon vinegar.


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