LATEST PAPER
72° Good Evening
72° Good Evening
Eat and Drink

Lincoln Ristorante celebrates sugar snap pea with five-course dinner

Even in an age where genetically modified produce seems to be the norm, it can come as a surprise to discover that the sugar snap pea was bred, not born.

When New York City chef Jonathan Benno learned about the vegetable's origins, he set out to find a way to celebrate the life’s work of Dr. Calvin Lamborn, who created the sugar snap pea nearly 40 years ago.

“It’s not often that you hear about an ingredient that was created. There’s the tomato, there’s the green bean, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago when I started to see all of these varietals of Dr. Lamborn’s peas that I learned that the sugar snap pea was actually created on a farm in Idaho 40 years ago,” Benno said.

Dr. Lamborn (pictured) said that the journey to
Photo Credit: Patina Restaurant Group

Dr. Lamborn (pictured) said that the journey to the snap pea began as an attempt to improve snow peas.

"This started with a curiosity. The company I worked for wanted me to make these snow peas more smooth and straight, and I found a row that had thick pod flesh, we made the cross, and we wound up with a pod pea that didn't have parchment and had thick pod flesh," Lamborn recalled.

Benno and his restaurant, Lincoln Ristorante, will be hosting a dinner to celebrate Lamborn and his peas on July 7. Chefs Wylie Dufresne (WD 50 and Alder), Marco Canora (Hearth), Justin Smillie (Upland) and Richard Capizzi (Lincoln Pastry) will join Benno in crafting a five-course meal, with each dish featuring Lamborn's snap peas.

For Benno, this dinner is part celebration and
Photo Credit: Patina Restaurant Group

For Benno, this dinner is part celebration and part exposition, given that many diners might not know the origins of the snap pea or have access to Dr. Lamborn's other varietals like the Royal Snap Pea (pictured above), the Honey Snap Pea, Lamborn Snap Greens or the Speckled Snow Pea.

"The advent of the sugar snap pea and this dinner is not so mainstream," Benno said. "As chefs, we have more access to these special things than regular consumers, we have relationships with the farmers, so we buy direct from them, and then we can get these beautiful things on our menu."

For Dr. Lamborn, working with specialty markets
Photo Credit: Patina Restaurant Group

For Dr. Lamborn, working with specialty markets and restaurants provides a fun and exciting opportunity to showcase some of his more creative pea pursuits. Most of his business comes from the wholesale pea market he said. A creative display of the peas to be showcased at the dinner particularly excited Lamborn.

"We're going to present the peas in a vase as a bouquet and add some sugar water and sweeten them up, and they're something that can be nibbled on or as a conversation piece at a restaurant," he said. "They're sweetened to the point where we can call them snap pea candy."

Benno also traveled to Dr. Lamborn's farm in
Photo Credit: Patina Restaurant Group

Benno also traveled to Dr. Lamborn's farm in Idaho on June 26 and 27 to spend some time working with the peas from the farmer's perspective. He noted that both the trip and the dinner created a unique situation of cooperation between the growers and the makers of food.

"It's not often that the chefs and the farmer connect like that," Benno said. "A farmer's schedule and a chef's schedule are very different-- they're usually getting up when we're going to bed, so to have the chef and the farmer in the same room, I think it's pretty cool."

The five courses include Dufresne's snap pea panisse
Photo Credit: Patina Restaurant Group

The five courses include Dufresne's snap pea panisse with smoked ricotta, Canora's charred snap peas with sunflower seed hummus, Benno's Ravioli Bigusto (pictured above), which is a goat cheese and summer truffle-filled pasta with brown butter, mint and snap pea tendrils, Smillie's Flying Pigs Farm pork blade steak with charred sugar snaps, pickled cherries and walnuts, and Capizzi's Girandola, a snap pea and pistachio Genovese with toasted sesame seed gelato.

Tickets for the event are $150 per guest. See store.patinagroup.com to book.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Eat and Drink photos & videos