Recently a guest at A Single Pebble asked “Does Chef Duval actually cook?”

The ‘Chef’ in question happened to be hosting that night. She overheard the dinner guest and laughed to herself. Yes. Chiuho Duval cooks! When it comes to creating the weekly dinner special, she really cooks.

Chiuho gets her inspiration for weekly dinner specials from the seasonal produce she finds at local farmers markets and from local stores like City Market, where she recently got busted for dancing in front of the heirloom tomatoes. Hmm…You say. Dancing tomatoes does not sound like Chinese food. But you’d be wrong.

Tomatoes are indeed part of the palette. In fact there is a stir-fried egg and tomato dish that is the cultural equivalent of our grilled cheese sandwich. It is a comfort food that is often the first thing little kids learn to cook.

Dancing in the produce department is a little bit harder to explain. Chef Chiuho Duval gets her inspiration from many things, foremost on this list is the availability of fresh, local foods, like Heirloom tomatoes. She also gets inspiration from color and music. When the three come together, something magical is bound to happen, including dancing.

The song list below and the heirloom tomatoes above inspired a succulent scallop dish. She was going to reduce the tomatoes into a coulis, but their texture, taste and vibrant color inspired her to keep them fresh. The scallops were lightly battered and crisp; she combined the tomatoes with plum and seasoned them with basil, lemon, salt and pepper and poured them over the scallops.

Eblouie Par La Nuit by Zaz
Downpour by Brandi Carlile
Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard & Market Irglova
Beautiful Night by Josh Ritter
Splendor in The Grass by Pink Martini

You wont hear these songs at the restaurant, but you might taste their influence on your plate.