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Five First of Spring Ingredients Chef Ken Loves

Five First of Spring Ingredients Chef Ken Loves

Spring has officially sprung! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and gardens are sprouting! Not only does that mean more al fresco dining in our near future, but it also means more fresh ingredients on our plates.

Our friend Chef Ken Durbin, owner and founder of The At Home Chef, creates custom in-home dining experiences across the Tri-State from dinner parties to date nights. Voted Best Private Chef in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, The At Home Chef does all of the menu prep, shopping, cooking and even cleaning (click here to see our recent review). We know Durbin loves to use fresh ingredients from local farmers, so we asked him for a list of his "first of Spring" favorites and where to find them. Here's what he had to say:

  1. Rhubarb: It's always a sign of spring for me. I like to use it in desserts mainly, but it can also be used in savory dishes to add an extra bit of needed citrus.
  2. Ramps: I love them for the strong pungent and unique flavor profile. They're sometimes called wild leeks or spring onions, but they have a stronger, more garlicky flavor than a leek or scallion. I love using them in as much as possible this time of year since the season is so short. My favorite way to use ramps is to make a nice whipped compound butter I can add to steaks or vegetables off the grill.
  3. Fiddleheads: I like to blanch these lightly, shock them in ice water then marinate in a savory dashi served cold. The nice crunch, light slime (don't be afraid) from the inside, and that springy flavor is to die for.
  4. Spring garlic: I will use spring garlic throughout a few different purees and sauces. I also like to include it in burgers and grill.
  5. Spring lamb: This is a definite go-to as we head toward Easter. Set aside the ham and look for spring lamb. Roasted or grilled it will give you that delicious flavor that only lamb can provide.

"As always, make sure you try to source from local farmers for these items," Durbin adds. "I recommend going to your local farmers market and talking to some of the farmers and ask them if they have or source you these items."

Click here for a list of Durbin’s favorite local farmers. Check out The At Home Chef Facebook or Instagram pages for more ideas, recipes and tips! Learn more about The At Home Chef here or contact Durbin at