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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: Billy Klein
  • Title: Executive Chef
  • Restaurant: Cafe Saint-Ex
  • Twitter: @ChefBillyKlein @cafesaintex
  • Cooking Since: 1996. “All I’ve ever done since 15.”
  • Random Fact: “I had a paper route.”
  • Favorite Vegetable: Tomatoes. “If there’s anything that I’ve loved forever…”
  • Least Favorite Vegetable: Beet greens. “They’re too bitter and spicy and gross. I won’t bother trying to eat them. I won’t put them on the menu.”
  • Memorable Meatless Dish: Veggie burger at the Reef. “That thing is awesome. It’s well made, sticks together and they don’t put too much shit in it.”
  • Best Vegetable Dish at Cafe Saint-Ex: Whatever the customer wants. “We don’t have the room to keep things if they don’t sell and we want people to eat here and be happy. Myself or the sous chef will go out to the table and figure out what the customer is in the mood for and we won’t charge more than 12 bucks for a really nice meal.”
  • Quick and Dirty Meatless Idea: “My favorite thing is to pan sear—it’ll be a delicious vegetable no matter what it is. I get the pan super hot and add oil, salt, pepper and a quick toss. At home I’m lazy, but you can finish with few drops of lemon juice. Butter never hurts.”
  • Photo courtesy ThreeLockharts Communications