Chef Jess Wallen caters to diners’ appetite for shrimp and crab 

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From the June 2021 issue

recipe-june-2021

Cooking along the Culinary Coast has forced Jessica Wallen to up her seafood game. Since becoming the opening chef at Grain on the Rocks in Lewes, she’s been creating menu items to please vacationers craving for fish and shellfish. Consider her shrimp-and-crab noodle bowl with green curry broth.

Wallen is adept at crafting new recipes. She was just 11 when she began wowing friends with breakfast sandwiches. The Delaware County, Pa., native comes by her talent naturally. Her dad is Bill Wallen, who oversees the kitchens in four of Grain’s restaurants. (Three are in Delaware.)

“From as early as I can remember, I would watch my dad in the kitchen,” she says. “He was my inspiration, and he’s definitely my mentor. I went to the Culinary School of Wallen.”

Samantha Mairano’s succotash risotto complements a summer favorite

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From the May 2021 issue

recipe-may-2021

Samantha Mairano is a true-blue Sussex County native. While growing up near Bethany Beach, she helped her grandmother bread the chicken destined for bubbling hot oil. 

Her job at D.B.’s Fries, a small Bethany Beach eatery near the ocean, was the first step in her dedicated restaurant career. “I’ve never been in another field,” she says. “I’ve worked every restaurant position.”

After 19 years in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C., she moved back to her home state. She is now executive chef and food-and-beverage director of the Landing Bar & Grille in the Plantation Lakes Golf & Country Club community.

Mairano brings a familiar touch to the dishes there. The mainstays of crab and chicken are reimagined as grilled chicken over crab ravioli with roasted corn and Old Bay-white wine cream sauce. Her scallops and succotash dish is another example.

Welcome spring with Chef Ian Crandall’s hanger steak recipe

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From the April 2021 issue

recipe-april-2021

Longtime visitors to the Historic Lewes Farmers Market will recognize Ian Crandall, co-owner of Kindle and Half Full in downtown Lewes. The chef has participated in the market’s cooking demonstration program for more than 10 years. Crandall is also a market customer. “I love the people,” he says. “I go as often as I can.” 

The Gaithersburg, Md., native hunts for uncommon vegetables grown by “adventurous farmers.” Consider green garlic — garlic harvested early. 

“Green garlic can take many forms at the farmers market or at the store,” says Crandall, who was 15 when he started managing the salad bar at a Giant supermarket. “I recommend the type that looks more like scallions, with no true bulb formed yet.”