A South You Never Ate at Chatham Vineyards on Oct. 28 will celebrate the foodways of Virginia’s Eastern Shore along with the culture and stories behind them. This progressive dinner of all tapas includes an open bar with Eastern Shore beer and Chatham wine and a signature surprise cocktail. Twelve chefs have committed their time to crafting two dishes apiece for the small plates that will showcase some of the Shore’s most distinct ingredients.
This is another in our Meet the Chefs series that will introduce an all-star lineup of creative cooks who have committed their time to make this an unforgettable farm-to-table experience.
The scoop on Madeleine Lewson
Her bio in a nutshell: Originally from Northern Virginia, Madeleine grew up gardening and cooking with her father and grandmother. This instilled in her a love of food and cooking that would eventually drive her to apply for a place in The Dabney kitchen. She started there in 2016 as a prep cook and methodically worked her way through the stations and up the line to be a Sous Chef. She credits The Dabney and Chef Jeremiah Langhorne for the majority of her culinary education. In early 2022, she accepted an offer from Chef Langhorne to be the Executive Sous Chef at his second restaurant, Petite Cerise, which opened in March of this year.
What Madeleine loves about Eastern Shore food, culture: “I love that the Eastern Shore still feels like this undiscovered world where things grow wild, and the sheer amount of growth can humble you. The people there are trying to preserve the native varieties of food, vegetables, livestock and fish. When I go there, I feel this overwhelming amount of pride from the community in what they have and what they have to offer. They are so full of knowledge and love for their environment, and they want to share and teach. You don’t find that kind of generosity in a lot of places.”
Her favorite Eastern Shore ingredient is … the fig. “I never knew that there were so many different varieties that could taste so wildly different and had different seasons. I love that you can season things with fig leaves, and you can cook in fig leaves the same way other cultures might use banana leaves. It’s a super versatile ingredient.”