The Art of Food
Dining at Strathmore is back! The culinary arts come alive under the direction of Executive Chef LaTasha Stevenson.
by Mary Murdock
“I want the food I showcase to the community here at Strathmore to show decency, dignity, love, and passion,” declares Chef LaTasha Stevenson, Strathmore’s new Executive Chef. After nearly two years without in-house dining due to the pandemic, the Allegro Kitchen at Strathmore reopened this fall under the visionary leadership of Chef LaTasha, whose philosophy ensures that at Strathmore, art is everywhere—even on your plate. With menus that change nightly, based on seasonal, local ingredients and the cultural themes of performances, Chef LaTasha’s fresh, community centered approach creates a special dining environment.
MEET THE CHEF
Chef LaTasha has had a passion for cooking since childhood. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she marveled as her mother made biscuits from scratch, without ever measuring the ingredients, and they came out perfect every time. She grew up helping her grandmother snap beans and peel sweet potatoes on the porch and knew, by the time she was 14 years old, that she wanted to become a chef.
After graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and completing a formative internship in the Disney Culinary Program, she moved to the DC area to begin a fruitful culinary career. Over the last 16 years, she worked her way up through various chef and assistant positions to take on managerial and executive chef roles. She sees the Executive Chef position at Strathmore as an opportunity to break away from the conventional and engage in cultural expression through cuisine. In serving the Strathmore community, she says, “I can direct my strong instincts and incredible energy into doing meaningful work.” Not only does she draw from her personal roots in the Southern US, African, and mid-Atlantic cuisine, but she also skillfully incorporates cultural elements from the diverse performances that Strathmore presents.
Chef LaTasha also plans to foster an environment of motivation, creativity, and community in her kitchen. “Having respect for self and the atmosphere as well as the other workers in the kitchen is important to building a strong culinary team.” Her inclusive and energetic leadership style is sure to instill a sense of welcome and belonging, for her staff and patrons.
EXPECT GREAT TASTE
When attending a show at Strathmore, patrons can now expect the Allegro Kitchen to serve up thoughtfully curated fare, inspired by the season and tailored to the performance. For example, Chef LaTasha worked with Persian singer Dariush and his team to curate a menu featuring rosemary-garlic lamb chops with pita, hummus, and tabbouleh, and Persian Love Cake for dessert. The Allegro Kitchen will also regularly feature action stations where delicious dishes are whipped up before your eyes. One night, diners may witness kitchen staff serving slow-braised pulled pork while frying brussels sprouts and crispy onions. Another night, a creamy vegetarian risotto bar will invite patrons to garnish with toppings of their choice, including parmesan cheese, sautéed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and more. The Music Center bars, along with the usual offerings of beer and wine, will also feature cocktails and other items specifically selected for each show. As the season continues, the menu and offerings will expand to create even more delicious options for patrons.
At AMP, guests can treat themselves to various small plates and desserts on a consistent, carefully chosen menu. The lounge, which has recently been revamped to allow extra space and comfort for guests, offers fresh tastes ranging from a chopped, baby kale and quinoa salad to heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella or a gorgeous cheese and fruit platter with honeycomb. Pair with wine, a cocktail, or a local, craft beer. More than ever, the culinary experience will make AMP a one-stop shop for an evening at Pike & Rose.
Brides, grooms, and business meeting planners will also get to benefit from Chef LaTasha’s culinary creativity. Strathmore Culinary Arts will provide customized, onsite catering for weddings, milestone celebrations, and other private events in Strathmore spaces. Strathmore is delighted to offer a redesigned dining experience to patrons that will not only provide the convenience of having a meal in-house before a show, but also a delicious, high-quality menu that is crafted with care and intentionality for each performance. Dinner and a show never sounded so good!