Heather Haviland laughs when asked if she favors bold flavors or more delicate and subtle expressions. “Nothing about me is subtle,” she says definitively. “I season with a heavy hand, every step of the way.”
But nobody’s complaining.
The accomplished baker turned full-bore chef attracts a line out the door for her weekend brunches. And brunch is just a description of time here, not the food. Along with killer omelets and waffles, she’s begun serving seasonal specials, such as chicken curry, chili and pulled pork.
“I’ve been in the pastry box for a long time,” she says, “and now I’m busting out.”
With a mother who catered for a living, Haviland spent her childhood in the kitchen. It shows in her deft pairings and commitment to natural flavors from farm-fresh products.
One of her favorite techniques is to combine sweet and savory components in a single dish, nowhere more evident than in a guajillo pepper sauce that tops her breakfast burrito. She slow cooks ancho chiles with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and cocoa. The result is a big, wet, sexy culinary kiss.
Bay leaves are her latest flavor obsession. “They’re versatile, earthy and exotic,” she explains. “If a recipe includes any boiling liquid, in they go. You don’t actually taste them, but they have a way of bringing out the best in everything else. Just smelling them gets me excited about cooking.”