Every family has its secrets. Our histories reveal dance-hall girls, rum runners, flappers, smugglers, and even secret loves. These colorful stories are often kept quiet among relatives in the know. Not any more. A Single Pebble has a family secret. It’s family dinner. And yes, the Single Pebble crew is family! Not in the traditional sense of blood relations, but in the modern sense of union behind a single purpose.
Each afternoon at 4:00 a seemingly disparate group of food lovers gathers for a shared meal, family style. The group is comprised of all the staff on duty that day. Bussers and chefs, waiters and bartenders tuck in for family dinner. A Single Pebble, as in Chinese culture, the sharing of food as a family is a very important way to show love and respect.
For chef-owner Chiuho Duval food is about connection. That’s exactly what happens at family dinner. Staff members share their stories as they pass the soup and get to know the varied flavors and specials they’ll be serving up that evening.
Family dinner is also an avenue for experimentation and creativity. Chefs are encouraged to ‘play’ with their food. Local Vermont ingredients marry traditional sauces and cooking techniques in completely unique dishes. Ma Po Tofu, traditionally served with pork, finds new life when combined with smoked duck; vegetable dumplings, usually poached, suddenly become more festive when deep-fried. The most successful experiments find their way to the evening specials menu. A popular side-dish that has become a staple of A Single Pebble’s banquet menu is the result of chance (the right ingredients readily at hand at the right time): blanched green beans, with sesame oil, sliced almonds and salt and pepper. How do you say green bean almondine in Chinese?
Family dinner is also a place where A Single Pebble chefs can have some fun. Though dishes are always made of fresh, local and traditional Chinese ingredients, some are “not quite Chinese enough” to make it to the evening menu: Nachos composed of fried wonton wrappers, tomatoes, jalapenos, lemon and cilantro or Beef stroganoff made with Chow Fun rice noodles.
The real secret of A Single Pebble starts here at family dinner, where great food and shared enthusiasms create a nurturing environment of friendship and comfort. If A Single Pebble had a single purpose, it would be this nurturing environment. The feeling spills out into the dining room as dinner guests arrive and the ‘family’ gets to work.
They say that “Fashion is in Europe, living is in America, but eating is in China.” Eating is also in Burlington. You’ll want to make a reservation.