Executive Chef Lance Smith, The Millworks, Harrisburg, PATaking it back to the old world ways

Chef Lance Smith has been at The Millworks for a year and a half. He remembers eating there for the first time with his wife and thinking to himself, “I’d love to work here.” A few months later, he was in the kitchen as the executive chef and the rest, as they say, is history. 

We asked Chef Lance why the farm-to-table movement is so popular. He said that people want to be aware of where their food comes from. What you put in your body matters, as much as you may like to think otherwise. Choosing to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients means you’re putting only good, natural things into your body. Of course, it helps that it tastes better, too. 

For Chef Smith, using fresh, local ingredients has always been his culinary philosophy. “It’s always been [about] sourcing directly from farmers and buying as much local product as possible because it’s just the right thing to do. And it makes my job easier, because something that was picked yesterday that’s super flavorful, lots of love put into growing it, is going to be more delicious than something that was picked weeks ago and shipped from around the world.”

The chef recommendsRoasted Squash Soup at The Millworks, Harrisburg, PA

Next time you’re at The Millworks, Chef Lance recommends the New Jersey Day Boat Scallops. “It’s got this awesome flavor profile of apples and fennel and fall spices.”

Favorite thing to eat? The smoked beef taco. “Tacos are near and dear to my heart.”

Guest favorite? Grilled pear and ham pizza. Wood oven roasted squash soup. “Those are our two favorite guest dishes.”

The Mill, farm-to-table restaurant, in Hershey, PAIngredients right at your fingertips

Chef Maureen Fowler has been at The Mill since its inception in September 2014. But cooking has been in her blood long before that.  “My father is a chef,” said Fowler. “I grew up seeing him cook, him teaching me how to cook, and that sent me on my path to being a chef.” Maureen attended school at The Culinary Institute of America, and an internship at The Hershey Lodge landed her in the area, where she has stayed since.

Chef Maureen boasted that Central Pennsylvania has a lot of great farms and is an area where the agricultural industry shines. “I really love this area. It has so much to offer with seasonal produce. It has so much to offer with history of food. [The area] lead me into that seasonality and gave me such a great opportunity to use all those ingredients that are right at your fingertips. You don’t even have to go anywhere to get them.”

In fact, there are several local markets in the Hershey Harrisburg Region that are great to shop at. Chef Maureen says that it’s a common misconception that buying local, fresh ingredients is more costly than shopping at a grocery store. When you shop seasonally at your local markets, you can find some really great deals. 

The chef recommends House Bacon at The Mill, in Hershey, PA

Next time you’re at The Mill, Chef Maureen recommends the House Bacon. “It’s always fun to cure it, smoke it and sear it.”

Favorite thing to eat? Brisket. “It’s smoked for 8 hours over cherry wood.”

Guest favorite? Brisket and pulled pork. “Our smoker runs pretty much 24 hours a day.”

Where the chef’s shop

Chef Lance and Chef Maureen gave us their favorite local places to buy meat and produce. Be sure to check them out the next time you are in the area. 

Broad Street Market in Harrisburg
Farmers Market of Hershey
Open Air Market at the Farm Show in Harrisburg
Root’s Market in Manheim