We fell in love at first bite with executive chef Jay Chadwick’s torchon au foie gras. It was our first-ever tasting of Ella’s American Bistro’s chef, and his decadent rendition of the house-made, silky-smooth foie gras took four days to create. Presentation was child’s play: mimicking an adult version of peanut butter and jelly—rolled hazelnuts lended to the ‘peanut butter’ aspect of the classic while a house-made strawberry chutney acted as its ideal mate.
The 36-year-old Chadwick just joined his brother, Daniel, at Ella’s in spring 2014. The brothers, with Daniel acting as general manager, are redefining the food culture of the Wayne restaurant and bar, refocusing the two-year restaurant’s mission on creating fine-tuned, locally sourced dishes that we just can’t get enough of.
Chadwick arrives at Ella’s with culinary stints at Philly’s Le Vitru and JG Domestic, and at Malvern’s Restaurant Alba under his kitchen belt. “The goal here is to keep it domestic,” he reveals. “I consider myself in the ‘pleasure industry’ and I want to give people the best experience I can. I let the season and ingredients dictate the menus, and strive to never overcomplicate the plate, but instead, let the natural flavors shine.”
On a recent return visit this summer, as we sat in the equestrian-styled barroom, we decided to follow the chef’s lead and acquaint our palates with his latest seasonal offerings. From a fork-tender Rohan duck breast dancing atop a tart plum gastrique, to the Viking Village scallops crowning textural playground of sweet corn and bacon hash and ultra-ripe cherry tomatoes, we were instant believers of Chadwick’s warm-weather food program.
Better yet, with the Chadwick brothers coming from a Main Line farm-raised upbringing (“we had chicken, rabbits…,” says Jay, “we even made our own wine!”), it only makes sense that the two develop a strong working relationship with a neighborhood producer. Malvern’s Wide Rill Farm is their one-way ticket to 70 percent of Ella’s daily produce. You can even catch chef Jay on the farm, picking the best of the best for that night’s specials.
Other fun facts about the chef? He butchers all of the restaurant’s proteins, makes all of the ice creams, never cuts corners and lives to do things properly. “My hobby is wine and I’ve even received my sommelier certification,” he also shares. He even recently returned from a getaway in Piemonte, where he spent four days discovering 16 wineries. “I love playing around with wines, and enjoy doing private wine dinners here [at Ella’s]. You’ll find alcohol regularly in my cooking.”
Want to meet the chef and experience his cuisine? Find Ella’s American Bistro at 214 Sugartown Rd. in Wayne; phone: (610) 964-3552.