Not everyone has seen a black opal gemstone, but once you do, it’s easy to see why it’s so treasured. It’s a treat for the senses — not to mention extremely hard to find.

In the world of food, we love finding those special gems that bring about a culinary joy you didn’t know could be experienced — and the way that we do it is through relationships. “Try 20 to find 2,” said Executive Chef Chris Calhoun on how to find the best foods from top producers. “More and more options keep popping up every year, so you have to try them all. In addition, many are very seasonal, so time is of the essence.”

By keeping our kitchen’s thumb on the pulse of great farms and fisheries, we’re able to craft a unique menu that excels in quality and seasonality. Check out some of Chef Chris’ top picks on the menu right now:

  • Akaushi Beef: This rare beef comes from HeartBrand Ranch in Flatonia, Texas, and raises cattle with true red Wagyu genetics straight from Japan. The natural marbling found in Wagyu means incredible U.S. prime beef with a buttery flavor. While most Wagyu in the states is crossed with Angus, HeartBrand’s bloodline is undiluted.
  • Nicasio Cheese: “It’s awesome 100 percent organic farmstead cheese,” Chef Chris gushed. Nicasio Valley Cheese is situated just north of San Francisco and has won award after award (including top five in class at the 2014 World Cheese Championship). The same family has been farming the pasture-based Lafranchi Ranch that supplies all the organic milk for Nicasio cheese since 1919. We use a number of varieties in our dishes and continue to be amazed by these adept cheesemakers.
  • Fish from the Portland (Maine) Fish Exchange via Browne Trading Co.: “We’ve been using this supplier for decades. Everyone knows they’re the best,” said Chef Chris. Browne Trading Co., also located in Portland, keeps us stocked with incredibly high-quality round fish, flatfish and shellfish.

We’re always searching for something new, and it shows up in our food. “I purposely try to mix a lot of different basic cooking methods (deep poach, shallow poach, poele, braise) into every menu,” Chef Chris explained. “It’s for variety’s sake and to keep the cooks practicing these techniques.”

That variety lets us show off the amazing foods we procure in novel and interesting ways. A prime example? “The poached beef tenderloin is pretty stellar,” chef Chris noted. We couldn’t agree more! While most people think of grilling or pan-frying, we bring out the best in this cut through unique preparation in our kitchen.

Hungry? Come visit us at one of our restaurants and see what we’re cooking up today. Whether it’s uniquely sweet Kauai shrimp from Hawaii or the coveted seasonal arrival of Subarashii Kudamono pears from right here in Pennsylvania, we always have something delightful to share with you!

For 25 years, The Desmond Hotel has earned a reputation for superior hospitality and comfort. We boast 194 well-appointed nonsmoking guest rooms and suites with modern amenities and hotel-wide free Wi-Fi. Our luxurious property offers three onsite dining options, two bars, indoor and outdoor fitness and beautiful grounds. We have the perfect setting for you—no matter the occasion. The Desmond is ideal for corporate meetings and retreats, wedding receptions and any kind of celebration. Events of all sizes welcome!

Nathan Greenwood

Photos: The Desmond