Interview with Chef Dean Maupin at Keswick Hall – Scallops with Ratatouille and Parmesan Sauce

Chef Maupin conducts cooking classes at Keswick Hall periodically.  He demonstrates cooking restaurant cuisine, but makes it more approachable to the home cook.  One of the last classes was a French themed class where he prepared Coq au Vin and Fois Gras.

When we asked him what his best advice is to a home chef, he said that he always tells the class participants “not to dumb down the ingredients.  If you gather great ingredients, you will have a great meal”.  Buy the very best ingredients.  It does make a difference.  Stores like Whole Foods and Wegman’s and the many Farmer’s Markets that are sprouting up around the country have made it possible for almost everyone to purchase what he or most chefs have in their own kitchens.

This smells incredible…

“You will become empowered to do great things in the kitchen if you acquire great products and fill your pantry with them.  You will be surprised at what you can create when you start with great ingredients, don’t cheapen the process, cook with your gut, have fun and don’t be afraid to mess up.”

That is some of the best advice I have heard and I agree wholeheartedly.  My personal philosophy has always been that the love for cooking comes from your soul and good food is made by cooking with your heart and using the best ingredients you can find.

Having a little laugh in the kitchen

Thank you to Chef Maupin for taking the time to meet with us.  It was one of the many highlights of our visit to Keswick Hall.  Now I need to find time to go back and relax on the next visit!  We also will look forward to trying some of the new pastry chef’s creations.  Stacey Pease (formerly of Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia) joined their culinary team right after our visit.  We’ll let her get settled in before we head back to Virginia. 😉

Chef Maupin has graciously shared several recipes with us.  I prepared his Spinach Salad with Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette with Hard Cooked Egg and Edwards Bacon for my last post.  We have had this salad several times and we love the vinaigrette.  It is perfect for a summertime meal.

Seared Scallops with Parmesan Sauce and Ratatouille is the second dish I have prepared from this chef’s recipes.  It is a beautiful dish and the flavors complimented each other perfectly.  This will definitely be a go-to recipe when entertaining  guests.  I chose this recipe since it a great time of year to make Ratatouille with all the beautiful local squashes and produce.  It also can be made in steps ahead and put together at the last minute.


What a beautiful dish to serve to company!

Disclosure – Thank you to Fossett’s for providing dinner during our stay.

Seared Scallops with Parmesan Sauce and Ratatouille


For Scallops:
12 each sea scallops

For the Parmesan Sauce:
1 cup white wine (I used a dry white wine)
1 shallot, minced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

For the ratatouille:
1 cup small diced zucchini
1 cup small diced squash
1 cup small diced eggplant
1/2 cup small diced onion
1/2 cup small diced bell pepper
2 cups good quality tomato sauce (I made my own with Italian crushed tomatoes)
1/4 cup each fresh chopped basil, chive, Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil (I used Extra-Virgin)
Salt and pepper to taste


For the Parmesan Sauce:
In a sauce pot, add the white wine and shallot and reduce by 75%.
Add the cream and reduce by 50%.
Remove from heat and wisk in the cheese, lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Puree in a blender for 30 seconds, reserve warm until use.

For the Ratatouille:
Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
Add the diced onion and bell pepper and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the diced zucchini, squash and eggplant and allow to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and reduce the heat to low, allow to cook for 10 minutes.
Finish with the fresh herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Reserve warm until use.

To finish the dish:
Heat a large saute pan with a bit of olive oil in it (let the pan get hot enough that you start to see a bit of smoke coming off the oil).
Season the scallops with a bit of salt and carefully place them into the pan.
Allow them to sear for a couple of minutes, then flip them and sear the other side for a minute or two, depending on how well done you like them.

Place them onto a plate, top with the ratatouille, and finish with the Parmesan Sauce.


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