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Image: Stefan Milne

“There is, in my opinion, nothing better than a peach,” Jason Wilson, chef at Miller’s Guild, said as he rotated the fruit's meridian against his knife, pulling two sun-toned hemispheres from the pit. “I look at this like a piece of meat. If you’re able to season it right, grill it off, and let it rest, those sugars and juices will actually calm down inside of it. You get the layers of flavor—cooked on top for that jam or peach pie feel, and then warm, and then room temperature.”

That peach was then submitted to the nine-foot Infierno grill, where in a glut of flame Wilson “blistered the hell out of it” (his Dante pun).

The peaches come Pence Orchard in Wapato. Wilson likes that area's peaches in particular because the combination of daytime sun and nighttime cold yield a sweet fragrant intensity. Pence actually measures their peaches' sweetness and doesn't send them out until the sugar content is 13 percent. 

“My approach has always been to find the best ingredient and then find a technique or a simple ingredient that will heighten it, make it an experience.”

Those secondary, peach-highlighting ingredients on this plate are labna—made by straining Madison Co-Op goat’s yogurt until it reaches cream cheese consistency—and prosciutto-style ham that Wilson cures in-house for five to six months and then planchas into crisp, salty sheets.

The plate wanders a little from Washington, with almonds, pistachios, and a splash of olive oil. “For a year or so at Crush, my first restaurant, we went as local as we could. We only used things that were in the greater Northwest. We had oils that were from chardonnay grape seeds. But I just couldn’t duplicate the consistency and the flavor of olive oil.” 

Wander as it does, though, this is a plate in praise of the peach, its sudden micro-seasonality: “It’s really only good for a month. There’s no hiding that it’s at the peak of summer. You have to be in the moment with it.”

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