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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.

  • Name: Hilary Henderson
  • Title: Sous chef
  • Restaurant: The Source
  • Cooking Since: 5 years. I always really, really enjoyed cooking. My mother always said I should go to culinary school if you don’t know what to do when you get older.
  • Random Fact: I love to paint. Any time I have a little bit of free time I make a mess: oil on canvass and totally abstract. I just like to put the brush on the canvass. (Check out Hilary’s flickr page.)
  • Favorite Vegetable: Whatever is in season. I love sweet corn with little chanterelles in the summer. Just cut corn off the cob, season it perfectly with just a little salt, a little pepper and a little sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Keep it simple.
  • Least Favorite Vegetable: Tomato, when they’re out of season in the middle of winter they’re disgusting, mealy and you don’t get any sweetness. I always thought I hated tomatoes but it was because I never really had a good tomato. [The first time I liked a tomato] I think it was at a farmers’ market and I met someone that grew his own. He was just so passionate. And I was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe I ever hated these.”
  • Memorable Meatless Dish: I did an externship at the Greenbrier and Michael Voltaggio opened  a new restaurant, Hemisphere [at the resort] and had a vegetarian seven-course tasting menu that was so unbelievable I will never forget it. There was a sweet corn dish but it was more like a corn puree. And there were these suspended lentils, like little spheres. I have no idea how they are made but they are descended in a broth.
  • Best Vegetable Dish at The Source: Our vegetable sushi is probably the best I ever had. It has pickled cabbage, yamagobo, cucumber and avocado. It’s kinda sweet and salty. It’s everything you’d want in a vegetarian dish.
  • Quick and Dirty Meatless Idea: I like paneer. It’s super quick and super simple and just add any fresh vegetable [to make it a meal]. Use a gallon of whole milk, half a gallon of buttermilk and bring it up until curds and whey separate. Strain it in cheese cloth, then press it between two plates with something heavy on top and leave it in the fridge over night. The next day cut it into cubes, saute in ghee with garam masala, salt, maybe a little sugar.

Photo Courtesy of Hilary Henderson