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Chef’s Challenge 2017: Chef David Pow of Soul Restaurant, Annapolis

Jul 31, 2017 02:35PM ● By James Houck
By James Houck // Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.

This year’s challenge boasts three “Best Of” chefs—David Pow of Soul in Annapolis, Ryan Groll of Eat Sprout! based in Trappe, and Steve Konopelski of Turnbridge Point in Denton— each with unique style and creativity on display in their chosen culinary creations. Below, we present dishes by Chef David Pow of Soul Restaurant in Annapolis. View all chefs here.

“At Soul, the linguini is made in-house and I was looking for a way to feature the little neck clams harvested from the Chesapeake Bay. I’ve tossed in country ham to keep with the southern inspiration. At home, any kind of packaged pasta will work well. Add a nice glass of wine and you’ll impress any guest.”

Littleneck Clams and Paprika Pasta

  Yield 2


  • 16 each littleneck clams
  • 1 tsp. country ham, small diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. scallions, sliced thin
  • 12 oz. white wine
  • 2 oz. heavy cream
  • 4 oz. butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 leaves fresh basil, sliced thin
  • 12 oz. linguini pasta (packaged or homemade)


Bring medium-sized pot of water to a boil (this will be for pasta, which we will get to shortly). Heat a small spoonful of butter in a medium-hot sauté pan. When butter is melted, add ham, garlic, and scallions. Stir for one minute, being careful not to burn garlic. Turn heat to high. Add clams, wine, and cream. Cover and steam until clams open (check every few minutes). While clams are steaming, drop pasta into boiling water and stir to prevent from sticking. Remove clams from sauté pan using tongs. Arrange in a circle in a pasta bowl—retain sauce in the pan. Strain pasta from water when done. Add to sauté pan and stir to coat with sauce. Use tongs to place pasta in bowl in middle of clams. Pour sauce over everything. Garnish with basil.

“I wanted to create a light dish that could reflect the rich farming tradition of the South throughout the growing season. A trip to the farmers’ market can be the inspiration for what vegetables to use.”

Vegetable Tart

Yield 6


For pastry:
  • 3 sheets filo dough
  • 1/4 1b. butter, melted

For topping:
  • As needed vegetables (blanched
  • asparagus; shaved carrots; roasted
  • red pepper—whatever is available)
  • 3 cups fontina cheese, grated

For custard:
  • 1/2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. thyme, chopped
  • 10 scallions, sliced (white only)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fontina cheese, grated
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper


With pastry brush, butter one sheet of filo (laid out flat on a cutting board). Lay the next sheet on top of the first; then brush that one with butter. Finally, lay the third sheet on top. Cut into 6 equally-sized pieces.

Arrange filo on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Place a second sheet of parchment paper over the top of the filo. Finally, place a second sheet pan on top of everything, sandwiching the filo in between. This will keep it from curling when baked. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (ovens vary, so check for golden color). Set aside until pick-up.

Sauté onions in butter until soft (2 minutes). Cool and then add to eggs, sour cream, cheese, and herbs, whisking until thoroughly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

For pick-up:
Spread thin layer of custard mixture on filo with spoon. Then add vegetables; top with a generous pinch of fontina. Bake for 7 minutes at 350 degrees. Slide tart onto plate with spatula and top with arugula salad (dressed with your favorite vinaigrette)

“I was looking for a fun dessert to serve in mason jars, evoking that tradition of preserving fruits to use long after the berries are picked. Using a sous vide/water bath style of baking allows me to cook the cheesecakes individually right in the jars. Again, this recipe can vary depending on the fruits that are in season at the time.”

Cheesecake in a Jar

Yield 6


  • 1 lb. cream cheese, softened
  • 3.5 oz. granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 4.6 oz. (3 whole) eggs
  • .18 oz. vanilla extract
  • 4.6 oz. buttermilk


Use digital scale for all measurements; these are not volume measurements. Combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt in food processor. Blend until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend again, scraping sides with rubber spatula. Add buttermilk. Blend until there are no chunks of cream cheese. Strain through fine mesh strainer. Fill 4-ounce Mason jars up to the shoulder. Cover with lid and tighten to “fingertip tight.” Submerge jars in pre-heated water. Cook sous vide for 90 minutes at 176 degrees. (If you do not have sous vide equipment, you can get decent results in a water bath over low flame—be careful to maintain 176-degree water temp.) Remove from water and cool overnight in refrigerator. Top with graham cracker crumbs, your favorite fruit, and whipped cream.