CHEF ASHLEY ROUSSEL
Ashley Roussel grew passionate for farm-to-table cooking while working at ABC Kitchen in Manhattan. Staff would roll carts to the nearby farmers’ market to handpick ingredients they used in the restaurant.
Prior to working at ABC Kitchen, the southeast Louisiana native completed management training at Zea Rotisserie & Grill in Lafayette. Afterward, she decided to pursue cooking and enrolled in the culinary arts program at Manhattan’s Institute of Culinary Education.
Before long, Ashley returned to Lafayette and became a sous chef at Social Southern Table & Bar for two years, and then spent time as the director of operations for the non-profit culinary organization Runaway Dish before being hired at The Saint Street Inn. Just four months later, she became the restaurant’s executive chef.
Ashley packed the Saint Street Inn with local vegetables and Gulf seafood. As the daughter of a wholesale herb farmer, Ashley learned the culinary uses of herbs from a young age. Herbs now make an appearance in most of her dishes at Saint Street Inn.
Ashley creates balance on her menu by including in each dish an acid, a pickle, as well as hot, salty, and sweet elements. Her philosophy is that ingredients should be treated simply, and that they only need to be accented to achieve greatness.
In her stuffed quail dish, Ashley accents cauliflower couscous with sage and thyme, while cane vinegar-marinated fennel adds just the right touch of acidity. Fig preserves make a sweet glaze, and bacon marmalade gives it a salty-sweet finish.
“Whatever you do, don’t overcook your quail,” Ashley says. “It’s well-done within minutes. I use toothpicks to keep their little legs crossed and wings tucked in so they don’t burn.”
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