by Lauren Davidson
After eight years as head chef with Dickinson Dining Services, Richie Rice has taken up the tongs as executive chef and is bringing unique flavors, local ingredients and fresh perspectives to the menu.
1. What’s your favorite dish on Dickinson’s menu?
Anything with Asian influence, in particular the Vietnamese flank steak salad.
2. How has the move toward locally sourced ingredients changed things for you?
Locally sourced ingredients generate a more conscientious vision of menu planning, and locally themed dinners have become very popular. More often than not these ingredients come from Dickinson’s organic farm, which shows great interaction between the farm, dining services and student/customer relations.
3. One of the campus favorites is beef brisket, which you describe as having been roasted in a “state-of-the-art rational oven.” What exactly is a rational oven?
Our “rational” ovens are relatively new to us. They are computerized, programmable and multifaceted. Time and temperature are interconnected in the dishes for which we program cooking. Overnight cooking and holding/maturing are the secret to the brisket.
4. It seems like Sriracha hot sauce is on everything these days. Why do people love it so much?
I think its popularity lies in the fact that it is a multiflavor, multifaceted sauce, not just a flat-out hot sauce.
5. We hear you have a secret hummus recipe. Why go to the trouble of creating a special recipe?
I like to create new recipes and unique proprietary flavors. Anybody can buy premade anything, but creating your own allows for flavor profile adjustment. It is also less expensive to make your own.
6. How did your mother’s salmon cake recipe end up on Dickinson’s menu?
My mother’s salmon cakes were always my favorite. Salmon is a big hit, with its omega 3 oils and great flavor. And the cakes are made from fresh salmon fillets, which makes all the difference in the taste. Kudos, Mom!
7. What’s your go-to seasoning and why?
Lawry’s Season All, which is flavorful, without being overpowering. I also like a small splash of Tabasco to brighten the flavor of cream-based recipes.
8. How often are new recipes incorporated into the menu, and how do they get selected?
Every semester there are new items, but fall 2016 marks my first opportunity as executive chef to really diversify things.
9. If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the one food you would want to have available to eat three meals a day, every day?
It would be seafood (shellfish in particular). I could either eat it forever or have a wonderfully gluttonous demise!
10. What’s your favorite Carlisle eatery, and what do you order there?
I like to eat at the Rustic Tavern. Although my tastes are extensive, I can’t resist all-you-can-eat crab legs and steamed clam night.
Published October 18, 2016