ChefChat Episode 1: Jonathan Till – Evening Star Café

Welcome to ChefChat! In this new series, we’re delighted to re-introduce you to some of the culinary professionals who have cooked and conversed with Monticello over the years. From time to time, you’ll hear from restaurateurs, cookbook authors and executive chefs from across the country about their passions, new projects and secret tricks of the trade.

Episode 1 features Jonathan Till, the well-known and admired executive chef amongst the DC/VA/MD foodie crowds. Till has presented at Monticello’s Heritage Harvest Festival and foraged in our woods and streams with Tufton Farm Manager Keith Nevison and Curator of Plants Peggy Cornett.

Wild Mushroom Bruschetta

mushrooms
Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Restaurant Group.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces wild mushrooms, cleaned
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, julienned
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices of thick-cut rustic bread, grilled
  • Pecorino cheese, for grating
  • Chopped chives, for garnish

Method

  1. Sauté the mushrooms, shallot and garlic in a hot pan with 1 tsp vegetable or canola oil until caramelized.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the wine and let evaporate until the pan is almost dry.
  3. Add the cream and thyme, and let the liquid reduce by half. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, spoon the mushroom mixture over the grilled bread, grate some cheese over top and garnish with some chopped chives.

About the Chef

Jonathan Till’s career in the kitchen began at 4-years-old, when he stood on milk crates to help wash dishes at Beverly’s, his grandmother’s namesake restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY. A third-generation chef, Till has worked in some of the most esteemed Mid-Atlantic restaurants, landing at Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s (NRG) original outpost and Del Ray stalwart, Evening Star Café in 2018.

till
Jonathan Till

An avid forager, Till is a member of the Mycological Association of Washington, D.C. – a passion reflected in his menus at Evening Star.

Before moving to the D.C. area, Till worked under Executive Chef Tyler Brown at the Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille in Nashville, where he had access to its 7,000-acre cattle farm and vegetable garden to develop his fermenting and preserving skills. In 2015, he was tapped to oversee training, hiring and sourcing for “bartaco” locations up and down the East Coast. Seeking a less transient position, Till settled in as Executive Chef of William Jeffrey’s Tavern in Arlington, VA, where he spent two years overseeing the kitchen and operations for the neighborhood spot.

In 2018, Jonathan joined NRG as Executive Chef of Evening Star Café, a 21-year-old establishment known for its convivial setting and seasonal American menu—much of which features herbs and produce grown on the rooftop garden. Before landing at the Star, Jonathan established local foraging spots and relationships with farmers, bringing his unwavering commitment to sustainable sourcing to the Del Ray neighborhood restaurant.