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Short ribs and baby octopus may dominate many menus in the city, but that doesn’t mean local chefs can’t find love in an acorn squash. In our ongoing series, Chefs Veg Out, we’ll prove D.C.’s chefs can play with more than just meat.

  • NameClementina Russo
  • Title: Chef
  • Restaurant: Big Bear Cafe
  • Twitter: @bigbearcafe
  • Cooking Since: Since birth. I think I made a chive souffle [and that] was one of the first things I made by myself at age 7 or 8.
  • Random Fact: I have a secret desire to go long-board surfing in Maine. In January.
  • Favorite Vegetable: Lacinato kale after the first freeze. It’s some of the sweetest, most delicious kale you’ll ever eat. It’s more transcendent than just kale. It’s magical.
  • Least Favorite Vegetable: There isn’t anything I don’t like.
  • Memorable Meatless Dish: I grew up in a house where everyone was a really fabulous cook. It’s like asking who’s your favorite relative.
  • Best Vegetable Dish at Big Bear: I do a lot of frittata and serve with a ginormous salad. Yesterday it was potato and rosemary. Sometimes it’s with fennel and people are surprised.
  • Quick and Dirty Meatless Idea: Stews. I can eat them for days.

Photo courtesy of Big Bear Cafe