Roasted Squash with a Kick – Garden & Gun

Joey Ward comes from a young generation of well-trained Atlanta chefs who propelled Atlanta into a new, more adventurous chapter ten years ago. Nowhere does Ward embody that era more than Kevin Gillespie’s saucy and delicious gun show, where he spent six years as executive his chef. Today, he works with Southern Belle (named after his wife Emily) and his small tasting room, Georgia Boy (named after him), to sample ingredients from the region and the city’s variety. We create bold dishes that respect taste.

“Yes, I may have grits on my plate, but I also use kimchi,” he says.

Ward knew he wanted to be a chef from the moment his grandfather put him on a stool as a kindergartener and taught him how to make pancakes with self-picked blueberries. He served as a busboy at the age of 15, after which he made pizza. He attended his two-year culinary arts program in high school, during which time he learned the basics of the kitchen at Atlanta’s Cherokee Town and Country Club. From there he went to the Culinary Institute of America.

Experience breeds both boldness and confidence, and can sometimes yield great recipes. In this case, it’s a spicy, Chinese-influenced version of southern winter squash that looks and tastes far more complex than it actually is. We’ve created a recipe based on Masterpiece’s Cold Thinly Sliced ​​Pork Belly in Chili Garlic Sauce. “This is one of my absolute favorite dishes he has,” he says.

He starts with quartered pumpkins. While the pumpkin is roasting, blend the garlic, scallion, and ginger, and add plenty of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Szechuan-style chili oil. (There are several styles of chili oil on the market, usually made by heating garlic, shallots, and a number of spices in oil. Pour it in.) It will be a spicy sauce. For a milder punch, use less chili oil and make up the rest with neutral oil.

Photo: Johnny Autry

The dishes are easy to assemble. Slices of well-aged country ham, or a pinch of prosciutto, are bathed in sauce and then draped over the squash. The sweet squash perfectly complements the heat of the sauce and balances it with the salty ham. It’s a dish that reflects the city’s evolution, says Ward. “I do cuisine from Atlanta, a modern Southern-based city with international influences.”

Photo: Johnny Autry

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