Late at night after a long shift, Cole Ellis, chef de cuisine of Nashville’s Capitol Grille, often makes himself a midnight snack par excellence: a smoked baloney sandwich with chowchow relish and a thick smear of mayonnaise on, says Ellis, “the worst, crappiest white bread I can find.”
Capitol Grille is well known for its farm-to-table ethos, with the Grille harvesting vegetables from a 66-acre farm five miles away. But Ellis, a native of Cleveland, Mississippi, is not immune to the pleasures of Southern comfort food. That includes the chicken and dumplings at Arnold’s in Nashville, which he calls “one of the best things on the planet.”
Ellis learned to cook when his mom returned to college. “I was hungry,” he says, by way of explaining his path to the kitchen; “I had to fill that need.” The tomato pie that Ellis created for Williams-Sonoma and Tasting Table‘s latest Sous Chef Series is a righteous ode to summer, with a host of heirloom varieties set into a mayonnaise-and-Parmesan base, all baked into a buttery crust.