Food With Friends: Sam Smith of Tusk

Apr 24, 2020

Sam Smith is the executive chef and owner of Tusk, a vegetable-driven, Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant in Portland, OR. Tusk was named Food & Wine's Restaurant of the Year 2017 and one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants 2017; it also happens to be one of our favorite places for a lazy weekend brunch or a celebratory dinner out. We caught up with Sam recently to talk about his newfound veganism, and he shared his recipe for Tusk's cashew & chia seed pudding.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters: Hi Sam! How do you take your coffee?
Sam Smith: Always black.

SCR: What's your most memorable coffee experience?
SS: When opening Zahav, the Israeli construction workers would make me Turkish coffee.

SCR: Favorite cheeseburger? Now that you're vegan, what's your favorite cheeseburger replacement?
SS: For a cheeseburger in Portland, probably the Long Burger at Dea's In & Out. Favorite burger ever is Joe Jr., a diner in NYC. Since I'm vegan and don't really eat them anymore, my favorite these days are all the sandwiches at Fermenter. They're all incredible and satisfying.

SCR: Go-to diner breakfast?
SS: It's difficult to eat at diners now! But when I lived on the East Coast, I would always get two eggs over easy with pork roll or scrapple, hash browns, and white toast.

SCR: Tell us a bit about how you developed this recipe.
SS: I wanted it to be like a healthier version of Yoplait fruit on the bottom. That's why we put jam in the bowl first. Next, I put granola on top so the dish would have a nice texture. Sometimes we'll put other puffed grains on top like rice, amaranth, quinoa, or sorghum. The fresh and dried fruit add other layers of texture, sweetness, and acid to round the dish out. And pretty much everything is better with a little bit of crunchy salt on top.

Cashew and chia seed pudding with jam, granola, and fruit
by Sam Smith, Executive Chef/Partner, Tusk
Serves 4

1/2 cup chia seeds
1 3/4 cups cashew milk (can sub other dairy free milk such as almond, oat, or coconut)
2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons fruit jam or preserves
1 cup granola
1 cup fresh fruit
1/2 cup dried blueberries (can sub other dried fruit such as cranberries, dates, or apricots chopped into small pieces)
Flaky sea salt

In a bowl, mix the chia seeds with the cashew milk, maple syrup, and salt. Let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, spread the jam onto the bottom of 4 bowls. Top with the chia pudding. Sprinkle the granola, fruit, and blueberries over the top. Add a drizzle of maple syrup and a pinch of flaky salt.