It was a hot and steamy, but beautiful day. We went to a crawfish boil at Chef Paul Marshall’s house. Yes, it was the annual Marshall’s Half Hill Farm crawfish boil. And like everything else Paul and his wife Julie do, it was awesome!
People know Chef Paul Marshall locally because of Farm Boy Fresh. But he is a chef with incredible credentials.
From his childhood on the bayou in rural Louisiana, Chef Paul Marshall always showed a passion for cooking. During seven years under the watchful eye of Fernando Oca he learned classical French technique.
Chef Marshall then returned to his New Orleans roots to work under Emeril Lagasse at Commander’s Palace. There he further developed his passion for “the new” New Orleans cuisine; a melting pot of French, Spanish and American flavors.
Chef Marshall was part of the team that opened the Four Seasons in Florence, the Executive Chef at the Hong Kong Sheraton and Chef De Cuisine of Oscars, the French Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel…and now he calls Chester County home.
My husband and I have been really lucky, and have been a guest of the Marshalls at their home. Paul’s wife Julie, has her own amazing credentials in world of food, having been with the James Beard Foundation for many years. She is also a terrific gardener.
So today was all about fun and food and friends and family. It was just so nice. And the food was, as always, off the hook.
The crawfish were flown in live and fresh from Louisiana. They weren’t those frozen little tasteless things that are called crawfish other places. These were fresh and succulent. Lobster’s little freshwater cousins were enjoyed by all!
So it’s no secret I love Chef Paul Marshall‘s food at Farm Boy Fresh. But seriously? His BBQ brisket is like a religious experience. I never understood why people love BBQ brisket until I tried his.
And even in the rain, the brisket sandwich is off the hook. I like mine messing with tradition on a brioche bun. My husband prefers old school white bread.
Farm Boy Fresh is located at 7 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern at the Sunoco Station. You can place an order through Toast Tab and pay in advance if you like. I recommend that because this barbecue is extraordinarily popular and they do run out.
If you go don’t forget to taste the little pies. My new favorite is the mini pecan pie! Oh and I hear he might be smoking his own turkeys at some point.
And what you see in 1st photo above? That was my sandwich today!
Today I finally made it to Farm Boy Fresh in Malvern.
“Don’t take my picture!” he said “Look at this apron!”
Oh Chef, the thing is this, pristine aprons to me mean y’all aren’t having fun creating your food. (Besides, I am the home cook who can kill an apron almost as soon as I put it on!) So a little smudge of something on your apron is a good thing.
I have been wanting to get to Farm Boy Fresh and as today is Thursday, it was chicken basket day, so instead of just writing about how amazing everything looks, I went for a little look see myself. (I wrote about them earlier this month.)
Yes, seriously, we have a classically trained chef who trained with people like Emeril Lagasse right here in Chester County. Living his best life with his wife on their lovely farm and cooking breakfast and lunch….inside the Sunoco Station at Routes 30 and 29 in Malvern. Yes, where Three Crazy Ladies was.
While there, Chef Paul Marshall was telling me about the chicken he uses when he was preparing my order and a couple of others. He uses Poulet Rouge. I had not heard of that type of chicken in years. As in I saw them on a farm once in France when I was like 14. They are a russet red chicken with long legs and a bare neck. Seriously. I realized those were the chickens I saw ummm…. decades ago.
I did a little reading when I got home and these chickens do indeed have longer legs and they are less round than some chicken breeds can be. They are known for their flavor and apparently they have thinner skin. I actually found a farm down south that raises them and you can buy them and other heritage poultry and meats from (Joyce Farms).
I am not sure if this is where the chicken today came from, but the chicken I had today was so good it was like a religious experience. Did you ever have lunch that smelled so good and looked so good that it was like there was no time for social media and food photos and you just ate a meal without taking it’s photo? You know the way it used to be before we were Instagramming, Tweeting, or Facebooking?
That was today.
The chicken was hot, juicy, and fresh and there was that lovely fluffiness of perfectly cooked chicken that had not only a good dredge with flavor, but buttermilk. And a little bit of a flavor profile that gave it just a little reminiscence of a kick but not spicy. Super subtle. Served with the chicken was this slaw that I am guessing was Napa cabbage (my favorite) and I am not sure all what else, but it had Asian influences and seemed to be more of a vinaigrette and essentially I could have dined on that alone it was so good.
I also bought a yummy blueberry chia muffin, chocolate chip cookies, and a jar of hot pepper jelly.
You know what else I liked? I got to hang out and talk to the chef. I have a friend from high school who is a chef (Carlo DeMarco of 333 Bellrose in Radnor), and have met others over the years through friends and family and they are a lot of fun to speak with.
Since I like to cook, I like to learn, and all of the chefs I have met are happy to talk food and share. Chef Paul Marshall is no exception. He was so nice and very interesting and I also loved hearing him speak about his wife Julie who apparently grew up in the area. That was awesome. You have to totally and immediately appreciate and respect someone who obviously adores their spouse, and their eyes light up when they speak of them.
My friend Sherry Tillman, who created First Friday Main Line and owns Past*Present*Future in Ardmore can tell you that I am a food geek. Whenever we were doing out food events years ago like Foodapalooza, she always knew she had someone to go to the participating restaurants and photograph the food and chefs and speak with them. That is my idea of fun.
Soon at Farm Boy Fresh there will be amazing high boy farm style tables so you can eat in and not just take out. It is totally quirky to have an amazing chef cooking in a gas station, but you know what? That juxtaposition just works. This is fun.
Farm Boy Fresh is a welcome addition to the lunch and breakfast places in Chester County. It’s so great to meet someone that just loves what they do.
Go get yourself some breakfast or lunch. Farm Boy Fresh is located at the Sunoco at 7 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern (the corner of Route 30 and Lancaster Ave in East Whiteland Township)
I will note for the record that I was not compensated for this review. I went in to buy lunch and I will be back! I am Farm Boy Fresh hooked!