Jeffrey Power//Photo by Courtney Apple
DETERRA RAVIOLI//PHOTO BY DALLYN PAVEY
You’ve been a proponent of the sourced-locally, sustainable movement since well before folks were buzzing about it. Even better, you make use of an on-site organic garden during warmer months. How do you define your ongoing culinary program beyond this local angle?
We do buy as much local product as possible and we feel it makes a big impact on our finished product. Beyond that, all of our dishes start with the produce first, and we build on them. My philosophy is simple—all of our meats are all-natural, meaning no growth hormones or antibiotics ever. We follow the migratory patterns of fish along the East Coast, so we are buying the fish that are being caught just a few hours from here. Our vegetables are our pride—we only use seasonal produce and we try very hard to buy local. Last, we make it all here—the bread, the pasta, the gelato, the sorbet; all of it is made from-scratch in our kitchen.
During my recent visit, I was really inspired by the whimsical touches to your dishes. Could you reveal a dish on your current menu that is representative of your cooking style and, moreover, Dettera?
My tuna tartare is a clear representation of my cooking style and Dettera—it touches on both classic and modern techniques. The tuna tartare has been around for many years, but the way we garnish with the soft-poached egg that is cooked sous-vide makes it perfect every time.
DETErRA BURGER//PHOTO by Dallyn pavey
You recently gave Dettera’s bar menu a facelift, incorporating a more casual collection of options—though all still rich in flavor and creativity. Can you share why you decided to go this direction with it?
The facelift that the bar menu got was simply due to the fact that we have a diverse audience and we want to accommodate everyone. However, we want to do it with style and creativity. It’s a trend that is starting to spill over into the dining room menu, as well. We want to have high-quality food but we never want to be pretentious, so were creating straight-forward cuisine with bold flavors.
Wild card: On your rare night(s) off, which local restaurants or bars are you currently loving?
There are many places that I like to go. We often go to the city; we love Will BYOB and Bibou is amazing! But, most of the time it’s a family affair—my wife and I have three young children—so we hit Bluefin in East Norriton or Wegmans’ Pub so they can be loud and we don’t get asked to leave!
Find Executive Chef Jeffrey Powers in the kitchen at Dettera Restaurant & Wine Bar at 129 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, (215) 643-0111, www.dettera.com.