Star anise is much much more then the “licorice” label its been given. It has a more sensual aromatic smoky sweet aroma that is penetrating when used in sweet infusions and is also a powerful flavor booster in savory applications. Its strengths are many and its weaknesses are few. If used correctly, it can be a real trick up the sleeve and a true friend in a pinch. I find I am using star anise more and more for cooking meat, especially with long braises of tougher cuts. I even use it with wood chips for its amazing coffee like smoke! Use it all the time, and treat it like gold!
Star Anise has the most amazing effect on browned meat by intensifying the flavor, making it ten times stronger! It’s all because of sulfur: star anise, onions and the Millard reaction of meat all have certain levels of sulfur that when cooked together, intensify the flavor of the Millard reaction of meat! I use a recipe we call “super broth” that is nothing but ground meat and bones that is deeply browned, onions and tons of star anise. After the broth is cooked (via pressure cooker) the flavor of anise is barley noticeable and it is left with the most powerful flavor of meat you’ve ever had!!!
TARVER KING is definitely ‘king’ of the kitchen at The Ashby Inn & Restaurant in Paris, Virginia. Tarver is an extremely creative chef and stands out as one of my favorite chefs in Northern Virginia.
Peering into Chef Tarver King’s background, one would not be surprised to find the title Chef attached to his name. In fact, one might believe it to be a foregone conclusion. Looking back two generations, Tarver’s grandmother was the food editor for Vogue Magazine in the 1960’s. She published multiple cookbooks and contributed to Gourmet Magazine’s cookbook. With a calling to the culinary craft, Chef King began his career at an early age apprenticing for the three-stared chef of La Villa Lorraine, Alain Jackmin, at his restaurant in Virginia Beach, Le Chambord. Gaining an education in the fundamentals of cuisine under Jackmin, Tarver worked with an outstanding list of acclaimed and accomplished chefs in this country and Europe. His career has included time in the kitchens of Le Bec Fin, The Inn at Little Washington, The French Laundry, The Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn.
Renown of his own came first as the head chef of The Dining Room at The Woodlands Inn & Resort in Sommerville, South Carolina where he and his team achieved the highest recognition from both Mobile and AAA, receiving respectively five stars and five diamonds. He was also named “Grand Chef” by the Relais & Château organization, of which The Woodlands was a recognized member. Esquire Magazine named King as one of its top five chefs to watch. Chef King has been featured and published in numerous periodicals including Wine Spectator, Bon Appetite, and Food & Wine Magazine.