Black Hat Chef Herb Garden

Ryan ConklinRyan Conklin is a Chef Manager for Culinary & Nutritional Services at Rex. His mission is to bring healthy, gourmet cuisine to the Rex community & shed the label of “hospital food.”

I’m so proud to talk about our herb garden with everyone -as it’s one of the most unique things we do in our department. It’s the herb garden”s 4th year, and our very own “Garden Guru’s” this time took it to another level. They rototilled new soil and last years crop under, as well as installed a new irrigation system which created an optimal bed for the herbs to thrive in. Paul, the official “Black Hat Carpenter” hand crafted custom planter boxes to finish it all off. To the right, is Paul Berens and John Steven Longe–the ones who make it happen.

Now, our herb garden just isn’t something for display, it’s actually a functioning part of the kitchen. This years crop includes…

  • Cilantro- used in our fresh pico de gallo and roasted corn salsa’s, Tropical Wheatberry salad, quinoa salad with roasted jalapeno & grapes, pork carnitas, and homemade cilantro lime vinaigrette.
  • Rosemary- used daily in our roasted red bliss potatoes, and stuffed pork loin with red wine shallot demi glace
  • Oregano- Tillapia En Papillote with fresh vegetables
  • Basil- Roma tomato baguette with fresh mozzarella, Cosimos marinara sauce, Blue Ridge grilled chicken, spinach Caprese salad
  • Dill- For our housemade pickles, and dill pickle flavored Jojo potatoes
  • Thyme- Fennel dusted shrimp with butternut squash succotash, Farro apple and pecan salad
  • Parsley- Cosimos marinara sauce, grilled chicken marinade, homemade chicken noodle soup
  • Mint- Fresh fruit salad with white chocolate shavings, grilled peach & granola parfait

This is just a small list of the many applications that we use our fresh herbs. Special thanks to both Paul and John Steven who have taken great ownership in our herb garden this year.