Nava | This is Atlanta Cooking | PBA30

NAVA revisited

Nava offers a total Southwestern experience with flavorful cuisine, bold design and striking architecture. Nava’s innovative menu has intense Latin and Native American influences

3060 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30305

Executive Chef: Doug Turbush

A notable enthusiast for bold experiences in food and life characterizes Nava’s Executive Chef, Doug Turbush. His passion for the kitchen began at age 15 in his native Wisconsin. There he discovered his interest in food and his disciplined work ethic working at a local steak house after school.

Chef Doug’s desire to learn every aspect of the restaurant business led him to a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Wisconsin in Stout, and later to the prestigious Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, New York, graduating with honors from both establishments. He completed his internship at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, and also spent two months completing an Intensive Spanish Immersion Course in Monterrey, Mexico.

Upon graduating from the CIA, a move to Minneapolis introduced him to Chef Kevin Cullen at Goodfellows, one of the most famous restaurants in the state of Minnesota. Under the leadership of Cullen, Chef Doug was able to hone his culinary skills, and work side by side with one of the nation’s leading chefs of Southwestern American cuisine. Next was a move to Bangkok, Thailand, which lasted 13 months, during which he cooked both professionally and recreationally. Chef Doug describes the experience as a great personal learning era, as he was surrounded by new flavors and cooking techniques with thousands of years of history.

Chef Doug joined the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group in 1999 as a line cook at Nava under Chef Kevin Rathbun and for the opening of Bluepointe. Shortly thereafter, he was offered the position of Sous Chef at Bluepointe, where he worked for two years under the direction of Chef Ian Winslade. It was here that he further developed his disciplined style, passion for bold flavors, fresh local ingredients and beautiful presentations — all trademarks of his cooking at Nava today.

Chef Doug explains, “At Nava, we apply undivided attention to every aspect of flavor, presentation, service and ambiance to create an authentic and exciting Southwestern experience.” Making the most of locally available produce and quality ingredients, he devotes a great deal of attention to creating daily specials and an ever changing seasonal menu.

Chef Doug resides in Marietta and enjoys spending time with his wife, Pranee, and son, Jack, born in June 2002. He also enjoys traveling, music, and dining out in his leisure time.

Chef Doug prepared:

  • Red Chile Spice Seared Salmon, Goat Cheese Cous Cous, Cranberry Vinegar
  • Grilled Rack of Lamb, Mushroom Tamale and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Habanero, Roasted Onions and Cilantro

He also talks to us about southwestern ingredients.

Download a printable version of these recipes.

Red Chile Spice Seared Salmon, Goat Cheese Couscous, Cranberry Vinegar

Spice Mix

  • ½ Cup Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1/4 Cup New Mexico Chile Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander Seed, toasted, ground
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Seed, toasted, ground
  • 1 tsp Thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil


  • 1 ea 7 oz fillet of Salmon, good quality
  • ½ tsp Salt

Cous Cous

  • 1 Cup Israeli Cous Cous
  • 1 gal Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 oz Goat Cheese
  • ¼ Cup Heavy Cream

Cranberry Vinegar

  • 2 Cups Cranberry
  • 1 bottle Cranberry Juice (64 oz)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Raspberry Vinegar
  • tt Salt


Prepare the vinegar, place all ingredients in pot; reduce by two thirds until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Place cooled liquid in blender and strain through fine mesh strainer.

For the couscous, place water in pot and bring to a boil, add the couscous, stir and let cook five to six minutes or until just tender. Cool under running water. Upon serving, reheat couscous with goat cheese and heavy cream and season with salt.

For the salmon, season with salt evenly on both sides, sear in oil in hot pan, turn over and brush with spice mixture, place in oven and let pan roast until medium.

To present, place couscous in middle of plate, top with the salmon, sauce around the salmon and garnish with dried cranberries, candied pecans and daikon sprouts.

Other Fruit Vinegars

Mango Vanilla Vinegar

  • 1 Quart Mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 ea Vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 Cup Champange Vinegar
  • tt Salt


Place ingredients in pot, reduce until mango is soft and almost all liquid is evaporated, blend cooled mixture in blender and strain through fine mesh strainer.

Pineapple Habanero Vinegar

  • 1 Quart Pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 ea Habanero, seeded
  • 1 pinch Saffron
  • tt Salt


Place ingredients in pot; reduce until pineapple is soft and almost all liquid is evaporated, blend cooled mixture in blender and strain through fine mesh strainer.

Grilled Rack of Lamb, Mushroom Tamale and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Habanero, Roasted onions and Cilantro


  • 1ea 8-10 oz Lamb Rack
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper

Tamale Dough

  • 1 lb Fresh Masa
  • 1 ¼ Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Onions, diced small
  • 1 ea Jalapeno Pepper, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 3 ½ oz Lard (or Vegetable Shortening), melted
  • 1 ½ tsp Sugar
  • 20 ea Corn Husks, soaked in water
  • ½ Cup Shiitake Mushrooms Cooked
  • 1 Tbsp Chives, chopped

Tomatillo Salsa

  • 1lb Toamatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 ea Habaneros
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 ea Garlic Cloves
  • 1 ea Onion, sliced ¼ inch
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar


Season the lamb, season with salt and pepper, grill on both sides two minutes, place in oven and roast to medium rare

For the tamales

Crumble apart the fresh masa with your fingers until granulated. Add the warm water and continue to work with your fingers until dissolved. Strain this mixture through a china cap.

In a sauté pan, sweat the onions and jalapeno pepper. Using a wooden spoon, add the masa mixture and stir. Add one third of melted lard, continue stirring, gradually incorporate the remainder of lard.

Continue cooking on medium heat, add salt and sugar and continue stirring until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Fold in the mushrooms and chives

Allow to cool before forming tamales

For the salsa

Lay the tomatillos and habaneros on a baking sheet, roast in a 400 degree oven or place under broiler, turning once, cool

Lay the onions and garlic on separate pan, drizzle with the olive oil and let roast in 400 degree oven about 15 minutes or until translucent, cool

Place cooled ingredients into food processor and pulse adding a little bit of the water if necessary to create a nice spoonable consistency. Fold in the cilantro, sugar and salt.