27 Apr Edible Flowers at Sanctuaria Wild Tapas – Bloomtown TV Ep. 3
Don’t give Chef Wil Pelly flowers. He will eat them. But if you’re lucky, he’ll maybe even share them with you!
Sanctuaria restaurant in St. Louis, MO proudly boasts their own garden where they grow many of their own cooking ingredients and often use edible flowers in their food & cocktails such safflower, lavender, and sunflowers. Says Pelly of growing what you eat: “I made the plant happy, the plant made me happy, now I’m going to make other people happy with that plant. It’s a share of happiness.”
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Wil: I’ll run out in the middle of service. We’ll be packed. They’ll just see a little black blur of me running to the garden. And then I come back with little bouquets of different herbs and flowers. And people will just wonder what I’m doing. And then the next thing you know it’s presented to them right in front of their face. It’s not just for the beauty or the garnish. But it’s a part of the dish. Don’t put something on a plate if you’re not gonna eat it.
Wil: Not a lot of restaurants have the privilege to have such beautiful garden sitting five feet away from the kitchen. We grow fennel and lavender, rosemary, sunflowers and watermelons, zucchinis, different peppers. It was actually our bar manager here who turned me onto edible flowers, be it floating different edible flowers over the top of drinks or taking the herbs and slapping them in your hand to release the oils and the aroma and then rimming the glass so that you’re not getting the flavor. You’re actually getting the essence of these different flowers and plants and herbs.
I’ve always, in my whole life, been interested in smells and taste and just giving people experiences. You give a customer this flower that, “hey, this is gonna taste like bubblegum.” It’s gonna take you back to your childhood of eating Chiclets. And you see their eyes and they’re confused and then they’re like “Wow!” Some people think I’m crazy. Here, put this in your mouth. Trust me, I cook for a living.
I’ve got some bitter melons outside and we’re gonna turn the bitter melon into a cup. I’m gonna use some yogurt, some agave nectar, safflower flowers – it’s hard to say. We’re going to dip them into liquid nitrogen and then cover it with a chocolate powder that we made out of tapioca.
Safflower, agave, frozen yogurt.
It’s an appreciation for something. You watched it grow up and then having them give back to you. And then for me to take that product and then give it to somebody else, I made the plant happy, the plant made me happy, now I’m gonna make other people happy with that plant. It’s a share of happiness.