On Sunday I went to see a man about some carrots.

I found him on the street. Not surprising, since he’d just finished brunch service at his restaurant on one side of the street (Twenty by Nine), and was gearing up for dinner prep at his restaurant on the other side of the street (Down Island). As I walked up Kennebec avenue, I spied him resting on a concrete stoop, scrolling through email, taking in a few rays of the blazing midday summer sun.

If it hadn’t been for his sheepish expression and his admission that he’d only just taken his first day off in a month on Thursday, I would never have guessed that Scott Cummings was running on an extra tank. Because when he stood up, his white short-sleeved chef’s coat was perfectly crisp. Spotless. Buttoned up. He was all business, but friendly.

As we descended into the cool, tranquil blue of Down Island restaurant, the first thing I noticed (again) was how clean it was. Absolutely spotless. Probably the cleanest restaurant kitchen I have ever seen. Granted this was between shifts, but still, everything sparkled, the floor was polished and dry, not a single extraneous thing was hanging around on the shiny stainless surfaces.

Scott introduced me to Dominic Giardini, who was making pasta by hand, kneading a giant piece of dough gracefully and neatly, without the usual cloud of flour in the air or flats of cracked eggs lying around. Clean. The pasta was destined for that evening’s tortellini stuffed with chicken liver mousse.

Dominic is one of only two other cooks working in the Down Island kitchen during service time. (Sunday morning, Hannah Flora, Scott’s sous chef, was working across the street at Twenty by Nine, finishing brunch service.) That’s not a lot for a restaurant that can hold 56 diners in one seating and can turn over at least twice, a restaurant that serves a five-course menu that changes every week based on fresh ingredients . . . a restaurant that only opened last year, but that many savvy Vineyard diners are already saying has some of the best cooking on the Island.

One thing is hard to argue with: After 12 years of working as a chef on the Island, and almost 30 years of intense cooking in fine dining restaurants, Scott Cummings has hit his stride. With his partners in the Celestial Restaurant Group, he’s created two restaurants (with a third in the works) that are helping to make Oak Bluffs a different kind of culinary destination than it has traditionally been. While foodies have always flocked to Edgartown, OB is now on their radar.

After almost 30 years of cooking in fine dining restaurants, Scott Cummings has hit his stride. — Jeanna Shepard

So that cleanliness thing? No accident. While Scott’s food is modern, his training is old school. After culinary school in Baltimore, he trained for years under certified master chefs before being chosen for the prestigious Greenbrier Culinary Apprenticeship at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. Of the 12 apprentices who entered with him, only five made it to the end of the program three years later and graduated. During the rotation through every possible cooking scenario and restaurant style, apprentices learned and perfected the fundamentals of cooking and kitchen management based on the methods of August Escoffier.

“It prepared me for this life as a chef,” Scott admitted. “And it gave me my foundation . . . the chefs I trained under would always drive home that you have to know where you’re coming from in order to know where you’re going.”

Ah, I get it now, I thought, staring into a bowl of roasted carrots that Dominic had just emerged from the kitchen with and placed on the table. That’s how Scott can take an ingredient as simple as carrots and turn it into an extremely complex dish — that works. No doubt there are hundreds of carrot dishes (and other kinds of culinary transformation) that have come before this one.

Scott probably never thought he’d make a name for himself with something as mundane as carrots, but the dish I was about to taste is the only one that never comes off his menu, and it had definitely lured this vegetable lover down from West Tisbury.

“Why carrots?” I asked Scott when he brought two forks over (photographer Jeanna Shepard had just joined us).

“Because they’re the cornerstone of healthy eating, but people think they are boring and mediocre. It was a challenge for me to change people’s minds,” he answered.

We were talking about the sourcing Scott does for his “Island to table” cuisine — as local as possible, and not just the usual phoning or texting back and forth of orders from farms. He goes to the farmers’ market regularly, and the restaurant has its own secret garden nearby, which it hopes to expand.

“The main thing that drives me is fresh ingredients,” he said, noting that it might sound clichéd to say that, but that opportunities on this Island — from fresh fish to local cheese to remarkable vegetables — are amazing.

Roasted carrots with orange, Thai basil, and yogurt-harissa sauce. — Jeanna Shepard

Once the forks went in, the conversation immediately shifted to the composition of the dish — a dish Scott had illustrated on the blackboard behind us, as he does with every course on the menu, a holdover from days of dreaming of being an artist until his mother suggested he pursue a paycheck. The illustrations — with labels and lines pointing to ingredients — are helpful for servers, but customers love seeing them too.

“I get the larger orange carrots from Morning Glory and then the baby red and yellow ones from them when they come in. I roast all of the carrots, and then I roll the bigger ones in carrot “ash” that I make from blackened peelings. I also juice some carrots to make a carrot gelee, and then I have all this leftover pulp so I dehydrate that and make carrot crumb,” he explained.

These are just the carrot parts of the dish.

The rest of the ingredients are, according to Scott, “where all the contrasting salty, bitter, sweet, and acidic flavors come together: Cara Cara orange segments, a spicy yogurt made from Mermaid Farm yogurt and harissa paste, Thai basil leaves, Marcona almonds, and a few caramelized pearl onions.”

He continued: “The idea for this dish is to try to get all those flavors at once, in one bite. Because that’s what’s going to induce that flavor coma.”

Induce that flavor coma? Perfect. Wish I’d thought of that. It sure tasted exciting to me when I got all the flavors at once.

While Jeanna and I were fork-fighting over the last bits, I wondered if we’d be able to publish a version of the recipe that home cooks could try. At first Scott thought the dish would change too much, but I kept nudging him. He thought about it and said, “So if we leave out the gelee and the carrot crumb,” everything else is doable.

Scott wrote up a recipe, I edited it with his permission, and then I stopped at Morning Glory yesterday to pick up baby carrots for a run-through. I had a blast cooking and then composing the elements of the dish, and I was completely blown away by the delicious results, which retained the high points of Scott’s restaurant dish. (It wasn’t time consuming, either.) I had to laugh — I’ve developed more than a few carrot recipes over the years, but apparently I’ve got a few hundred more tries to go before I come up with something as good as this.

I’m headed back to Down Island to find out what Scott does with zucchini.

Recipe for roasted carrots with orange, Thai basil, and yogurt-harissa sauce.