605 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701
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Chef Fleming’s years of extensive travel influence him in the kitchen. “I like to study the cuisines forged around the historical meeting of cultures – peaceful or otherwise,” he said. “Through this context, I have been introduced to Southeast Asian cuisine – from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, in particular – which continues to inspire my evolving cuisine.”
He is taking Motto’s menu to the far reaches of the Roman Empire, incorporating French, Mediterranean, Baltic and North African cuisines. “As the Roman Empire conquered new regions, they took the best of what they found in those new cultures and adapted them for their own use,” Fleming said. “As they discovered new spices, for instance, they added them to their cuisine.”
The chef has something of an obsession with an antiquated condiment known as “garum,” a fermented fish sauce which traces its origins to the Romans, who perfected the fish sauce after acquiring the ingredients from the Greeks. Fleming has incorporated garum into a number of his signature dishes at Motto, including the crispy fried brussels sprouts which boasts a garum-honey glaze, venison filet with garum vinaigrette and the whole fried fish which is flavored with a garum and ginger caramel.
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