In the 1960s, Oscar-winning performer Patty Duke starred in her own show, playing both main roles: teenager Patty Lane and her Scottish cousin, Cathy Lane. As the theme song shared, they were “identical” cousins while also being “different in every way.”
At first blush, that may not sound logical—but it totally explains the correlation between the Calvin pea tendril and its cousin, the Verde pea tendril.
In The Patty Duke Show, Cathy was polished, elegant, sweet, and well organized. You can compare that to the Calvin pea tendril, the masterpiece cross-pollination created by Calvin Lamborn with tightly curled fronds that add nuanced flavor, perfectly placed.
Then there’s the Verde pea tendril—the Patty part of the equation. The character of Patty Lane was a bit wild, and you never quite knew what she would say or do next—and that also describes our Verde pea tendril.
Pea Tendrils: Chef Richie Farina
Chef Richie, sous chef for Chicago’s Ever Restaurant, shares how the Ever team uses pea tendrils from The Chef’s Garden.
“Flavor,” he says, “always comes first.”
Ever’s pastry chef, Lucas, appreciates savory flavors in desserts. So, he created a luscious one using peas and gooseberries along with the curly, frilly Verde pea tendril for an added layer of flavor and visual appeal.
Contrast that to a lamb dish that uses the Calvin pea tendril. This variety allows Ever Restaurant to be “finesse-y, adding flavor without using a giant leaf.” Richie says they create an in-demand dish that features crispy lamb belly with salad ingredients that include Calvin pea tendrils, clementine orange segments, black mint, and petite red rose romaine plus puree that includes tangelo peels.
“I’ve been using ingredients from The Chef’s Garden since 2008,” Richie says. “It’s like taking a farmer with you wherever you go.”
He enjoys visiting the farm and the CVI and hopes to bring young chefs from Ever on a field trip. “I want them to see how the vegetables and herbs are grown with love. I want them to consider the flavor intensity in these tiny crops. I want them to witness the care that goes into packaging and shipping, so the fresh vegetables arrive in excellent condition. In short, I want them to explore and understand the full circle from planting to harvesting to serving our diners.”
He adds that everyone at the farm takes wonderful care of the restaurant team, making sure they get exactly what they need when they need it. “I love the product,” he adds, “and everything The Chef’s Garden stands for. Farmer Lee is awesome, and Jamie Simpson is really cool. I appreciate how a small family farm maintains its values.”
Verde Pea Tendrils at the CVI
“I love their appearance,” says Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute. “There’s less leaf, and the tendrils wind together in unpredictable ways. When, for example, I make a salad, I want these tendrils to cling together and hold onto other salad ingredients. Let’s face it. Verde pea tendrils bend where they want to bend and hang onto whatever they want.”
Chef Jamie likes to wilt Verde pea tendrils into a noodle dish. “They’re really tender,” he says, “and they jive really well with pasta. Then, when you work the long stems into the pasta dish, you can garnish it with leaves and vining tendrils and perhaps use pea blooms or snow peas. This is an interesting approach where you create a complete dish with basically one plant.”
Verde pea tendrils from The Chef’s Garden have more overall mass, he explains, because they’re cut longer than other varieties. So, consider how that can benefit your dishes and menus.
What’s the Identical Part?
We’ve talked about how the two pea tendril types are different in every way, but how are they identical cousins? Well, they both offer up incredibly sweet true pea flavor with eye-catching green hues that represent spring and summer—and an engagingly fresh scent. They both allow chefs to celebrate the entire plant from stem to leaf to tendril, adding unexpected layers of deliciousness and serving as a wonderful complement to a wide range of dishes.
Pea tendrils—also called pea shoots, pea tips, or pea sprouts—fit well in multiple cuisines, including Asian dishes. Used in China for centuries, pea tendril cuisines spread as immigrants did, taking their dishes with them to modern-day Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand—and tendrils have since found a key place in global cuisines.
Please contact your product specialist to order exactly the right pea tendrils for your unique dishes. New to The Chef’s Garden? Welcome! Get started here.