The Washington Post

Tarver King leaves Ashby Inn for Patowmack Farm

Tarver King is departing the Ashby Inn. (Scott Suchman/The Washington Post) Tarver King is departing the Ashby Inn. (Scott Suchman/The Washington Post)

Citing quality-of-life issues, Tarver King, the innovative chef at the Ashby Inn in Paris, Va., is leaving one country kitchen for another bucolic property: The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville.

“It’s sad to see a good friend and a huge talent go,” says Neal Wavra, the co-owner of the Ashby Inn, where King had worked for nearly five years. “But he’s staying in the region and still cooking in the region.”

The executive chef position at Patowmack Farm opened in July, when Christopher Edwards was lured away by Equinox owner Todd Gray to help launch the forthcoming Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg.

King, 35, says he’s leaving his job to spend more time with his family and focus on culinary experimentation. Unlike the Ashby Inn, which is open throughout the week and involves overnight guests, Patowmack Farm features dinner just three nights a week and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The chef’s future employer also counts a “nearly self-sustaining garden,” says King of the pantry he’s poised to take over.

His last shift at the Ashby Inn will be Sept 6.

Wavra, who learned of King’s decision over the weekend, says he’s looking for a replacement with “a thoughtful and progressive slant” who can continue the inn’s practice of using mostly ingredients that are grown or made within a 30-mile radius of the restaurant.

“We’ll find a way to to retain the beauty and bounty of the place,” says the innkeeper.


Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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