By: Ashton Ryan, www.alrimagery.com
Two woman’s vision’s melded into one of downtown DeLand’s most popular eateries; serving around 500 in one weekend night is the norm but some patrons dine at Bake Chop at least once a day. Co0owner Taylor Bass envisioned a meat centric restaurant with local meats while co-owner Stevie Vermillion dreamt of a bakery and in 2016 their dreams became reality.
One local had never tasted beets before Bake Chop’s ‘Beets and Goat Cheese’ dish which is now one of her all-time favorite sides while another local believes the ‘Lefthander’ is the best thing on the menu and eats one almost daily. Chef Mike has been involved in the restaurant since the beginning and met with Humidbeing Eats to chat about all things Bake Chop.
What inspires your dishes?
The products on hand from the suppliers, like seasonal items and such… like John will tell me he has a ton of tomatoes in so I’ll make a huge thing of some tomato sauce. The specials are really all determined by the products coming through. I follow a ton of chefs on Instagram for brainstorming. It’s like an avalanche of information. I actually just ordered a cookbook, The Garden Chef, from a post I came across on Instagram.
Who inspires you?
The number one who comes to my mind is Sean Brock, who is like, the epitome of farm to table. Magnus Nilsson is another a good one too. He actually is taking a mental break right now, he’s just so burnt out from it all. I have mad respect for Magnus. He actually found a way to serve old dairy cattle as dry aged steaks. Basically using a part of the cow for food that was not used before. Waste is terrible and we, at Bake Chop, focus on utilizing on all parts of the ingredients we use for our dishes, for instance all of our stocks for soups are made from scraps of veggies we use for other dishes.
Where does the food come from?
As local as we can get. The beef used for burgers and such comes from Fort McCoy, FL and the pork comes from South East Family Farm in South Carolina. I don’t like to put any daily sides out that aren’t from somewhere local. Many of the veggies that we use are from Common Ground Farm in DeLand and most of the items for the daily sides are from local farms such as Noble Roots in Eustis, Samsula Farms and Green Flamingo Organics in Oak Hill. One of my favorite products is the shrimp which comes from Seafood Connection in Cape Canaveral. The kale and collard greens are grown in my own garden and many of the herbs used in the dishes can be found growing just outside Bake Chop. Herbs are kinda expensive to buy so we grow everything we can out in the alley.
What is your favorite dish at Bake Chop?
Too hard to decide just one, I encourage someone deciding on their order to choose from the daily specials board, which has the local, seasonal dishes. I like a lot of flavors and you can get a wide variety of tastes from choosing a few of these side items.
What food will you not eat?
Nothing I won’t eat. Well dog, I love dogs but maybe within a culture, like if they were having dog, I would probably try it.
What is your favorite fast food?
Popeyes fried chicken with mashed potatoes and Cajun gravy. All day.
What makes you happy to come to work?
Food in general makes me happy but seeing our guests, our regulars, returning and happy makes me happy. People seem to love us and that makes me happy.