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WTOP: Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland is known for its beautiful, state-of-the-art music hall, but did you know that it serves top-class meals for audiences to eat before the show?

WTOP caught up with new executive chef LaTasha Stevenson to discuss the fall menu.

“I’ve been in the culinary industry for 16 years, so I’m not new to culinary, but new to Strathmore,” Stevenson said. “There’s so much competition here with Pike & Rose right up the road, but we want people to know they can come here and dine before the shows.”

Strathmore’s Allegro Kitchen allows guests to actually watch their food being prepared.

“It starts from the time that they walk through the doors, from hearing the sizzling in the pans to smelling the aroma of the food, we just want to draw people in,” Stevenson said.

The menu includes curry chicken salad sliders, kale and quinoa salad, jalapeño and cheddar grits cake with cajun shrimp, pulled pork sliders, roast prime rib and risotto.

“Not everyone wants just wings and fries,” Stevenson said. “We want to offer something different each time people come because you can have repeat guests and we don’t want them to see the same food over and over again.”

Thus, the menu rotates to match your ears with your tastebuds.

“We try to put the menus close to the style of music that’s happening here at Strathmore that day,” Stevenson said. “We had [the band] Sweet Honey in the Rock here, so we did a nice Southern-type menu. We had an Australian Pink Floyd [show] here, so we tried to do something a little more punk-rock-ish.”

Stevenson also serves food at the AMP nearby at Pike & Rose. “Everything is a-la carte there,” Stevenson said. “We’ll have mozzarella and tomato plates, we’ll have fresh fruit and cheese, olives and nuts. We’ll have a jazzy crab salsa with tortilla chips, curry chicken sliders, a dessert trio: a strawberry shortcake shooter with a brownie bite and lemon bar.”

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Stevenson moved to the DMV about 13 years ago.

“Food has always been a huge part of my life, from being a kid growing up being in the kitchen with my parents and grandparents,” Stevenson said. “Prepping in the kitchen has always been something that I’ve been familiar with. I just decided to take on a career at culinary at an early age at 14 and I’ve been on the road to success.”

After studying two years at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, with an extra culinary internship at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Stevenson moved to D.C. as a chef in hotels and country clubs, including Chevy Chase Country Club, Columbia Country Club and Bethesda Country Club. “Country clubs really prepare you for high volume, high pressure,” Stevenson said.

Now this fall, Stevenson joins Strathmore’s hospitality partner Sodexo Live!, which also serves the Royal Academy of Arts in London and National Gallery of Art in D.C.

Doors open 90 minutes prior to each concert.

“We work long days and long hours, but it’s the passion you have to have for your industry to keep coming back,” Stevenson said.

This article was written by WTOP, read more stories like this here.

Photo: LaTasha Stevenson is Strathmore’s new executive chef. (Margot Schulman/Strathmore)

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