FOOD_RachelMiller_MG_6552JoelVeak

"It's her ideas," Bond says simply. "It's always been her ideas, ever since I met her." One of those recent ideas: a "Turducken take" on a saucisson de volaille — sausage made from brined duck legs, chicken legs, and whole turkey, served wrapped in pastry with homemade sauerkraut and last season's pickled crab apples. It flew off the menu.

Born in Virginia and raised all over the South, Miller spent a good chunk of her life as a vegetarian and a kosher Jew, eschewing the fruits of surf and turf — until, that is, the chef of an Italian restaurant where she was working threatened to fire her if she didn't taste what she was plating.

"I pleaded and pleaded, but he finally took out this cured duck, or something that he had made, and put it in front of me," she says. "I was just in love. I ate the whole thing, and I was sick as a dog. Within a week, I was learning how to do all the butchering." Today, she says it takes serious effort to stop thinking about butchering techniques.

Back in the prep kitchen, Miller holds a plastic container of smoked apples up to my nose. Slate black and shriveled, they smell like a concentrated dose of campfire ash, with a lingering sugary sweetness. Behind her, containers are stacked up along the walls: herb salt, juniper-smoked tea allspice (which she'll use on duck with the apples), chestnut and barley flours, and endless crinkly peppers. Bales of hay nestle between crates of potatoes at her feet. "I love when we work with things like this," she says, sticking her nose into the container.

"Excess is an excuse to invent something new," Bond chimes in, and they offhandedly volley ideas for dishes back and forth as I point to different tubs. A line cook chirps a quick "Comin' around hot," carrying a tray of Bondir's coveted sea bread. The long, curvy loaf almost looks like a sea serpent as it's slotted into the speed rack. Bond continues, "It means there's never a thoughtless dish on the menu. Everything gets an equal amount of attention."

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