Here is your access to some of the South's most interesting culinary stories; they are too good not to share! Listen and join the conversation.
Ep. 69: Joe Heron & Brandon O'Daniel, Copper & Kings
Come with me to chase the green fairy. The following is mostly a deep dive into the iconic beverage for artists, poets, and people who like to imagine they live in turn of the century Paris. That’s right, it’s all about absinthe this week, and for that, I traveled to Lousiville, Kentucky to meet and sip with distilling pioneers Copper & Kings. Copper & Kings creates solid brandies and gin as well, but it was the American made absinthe, and lavender absinthe to be exact, that captured my attention a few years ago. Co-owner Joe Heron and head distiller Brandon O’Daniel are my guides to all things Copper & Kings, and the journey included visual art installations inside the distillery offices, a nip of brandy on the rooftop terrace, and a visit to the basement for a listen to sonic aging, where the barrel room is filled with American music played loud 24-hours a day with the idea that the vibration affects the spirits. It’s all experiential, and that’s including all the tasting on this episode. Bear with me here people -- one spirit even chokes me up a bit, it was stronger than even I am used to -- but we have a lot of fun and learn a little chemistry along the way.
Ep. 70: Travis Milton, Shovel and Pick (live from the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival)
What you’re about to hear is a little like sitting with Travis and me at the back of a bus. Giggles, tangents, and references to past escapes are all included, but that’s what happens when we get together. Chef Travis Milton is a Southwest Virginia native who is about to open three -- yes, you heard that right -- three restaurants in Appalachia in the next year. He’s been in Garden & Gun, The Washington Post, Tasting Table, cooked at the James Beard House, and through all of it, has championed his beloved home region and its cuisine. He is a chef’s chef (including during his tenure at wd-50 on the Lower East Side and Comfort in Richmond). I give him that moniker because he’s a cook who works from a theoretical place, and he deftly wields food as his language. A couple of notes about the following: the night he references in Charleston? he was the one living wild and I was the DD. And secondly: I cannot wait to see what he does next. Let’s get this party started.
Ep. 71: Matt Jamie, Bourbon Barrel Foods
If you’ve listened to this show a while (or read my work), you probably know that I find how people find their great ideas very interesting. Eleven years ago, Matt Jamie of Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville, Kentucky had one of those great ideas -- to become the U.S.’s only soy sauce microbrewery, incorporating, wait for it, used bourbon barrels into the process. He had what he calls a “chef’s arrogance” at getting the whole thing started, and these days, he’s not only making a Bluegrass Soy Sauce sought after and used by some of the country’s leading chefs, he’s branched out into various other directions as well, from making products for Woodford Reserve to cookbook writing to smoking salts and spices. Still, it all comes back to the barrel, and to Louisville, of course, where he works to make soy sauce, an item essentially “branded” on another continent, all about Kentucky local.