Q&A: Lew Chilre, Oyster Farmer, Alabama’s Gulf Coast

Malika Bowling
May 4, 2018

Lew Childre farming oysters in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Courtesy of Lew Childre

“Forget the imported shrimp and foreign fish; now it’s all about fresh, local, sustainable and even weird.”—Lew Childre, Alabama oyster farmer, Shellbank Selects

For years, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, were secret havens for fresh seafood and beautiful beaches that only the locals frequented. But as the South’s population grew, this beach location became a getaway for families from all over.

Restaurants are plentiful in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and many specialize in oysters. While many visitors enjoy dining on them, few are likely aware how much they benefit the waters. Statistics say that one oyster filters 50 gallons of water each day....

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Q&A: Neha Khullar, Author of 'Palate Passport'

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
March 26, 2018

Copies of Neha Khullar's cookbook Palate Passport
Photos courtesy Neha Khullar

Neha Khullar's new cookbook,
Palate Passport, has a mission we can relate to: “Travel the world using food as a compass.” We asked her a few questions about how the book came to be.
 

Please tell us a little about your background as a writer, traveler and cook.
Traveling is something that I’ve had the privilege to do since I was a child. I come from a globally spread-out family, which meant we traveled to see each other! Each phase of my life has consisted of travel and a love for eating local food. I’ve consistently returned from trips with a desire to cook that food once I was back home. Writing and telling stories came to me in my 20s when I...

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Q&A: Javier Ornelas, a Mexican Chef in Globalized Tulum

Kerra Bolton
March 2, 2018

Mexican chef Javier Ornelas prepares soup for a wedding in Tulum.
All photos courtesy of Javier Ornelas, except where indicated.

“Bubbles eventually pop, and we, as a community, have to figure out how to sustain a middle class while maintaining Tulum as a vibrant tourist destination.”—Javier Ornelas, of Hotel Ginger in Tulum

Mexico’s food culture is increasingly global.

As the influx of immigrants from all over the world continues to swell, notions about what is “authentic” Mexican food evolve beyond the “tacos and tequila” stereotype.

This is especially true of Tulum, an idyllic, tropical paradise bordered by lush jungle and the Caribbean Sea. Here, you are just as likely to find a German bakery, Italian and Thai restaurants, and Japanese...

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Q&A: Sonam Tenphel, Tibet Tour Guide

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
January 10, 2018

Part two of a three-part series brought to you by Tibet Vista, a tour agency specializing in Tibet travel since 1984 (see part one here): Meet a Tibetan tour guide.

A young tour guide hiking in Tibet.
All photos courtesy of Tibet Vista

This job can help others learn about Tibet and make my life significant.” —Sonam Tenphel, Tibet tour guide

A group tour is only as great as the person leading it, so you want an experienced guide with both the knowledge and the passion to see it through. Enter Sonam Tenphel of Tibet Travel agency, a Tibetan native with a background in art history and a penchant for vegetable momos who considers Lhasa “the most beautiful, intriguing city in the world”—and shows it off to his...

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Q&A: John Simmons, Sixth-Generation Tabasco Maker, Louisiana

Celeste Allen
May 18, 2017

John Simmons of McIlhenny Company, making Tabasco sauce

People across the world associate Tabasco sauce with the very unique, flavorful food culture found here in Louisiana, and we’re honored to be a part of that.”  —John Simmons, tabasco pepper expert, McIlhenny Company, Avery Island

Hot sauce is like salt in Louisiana. People add it to everything.

In New Orleans, about 140 miles east of Tabasco’s headquarters, food is known for its bold spicing. Cayenne pepper gives crawfish their delicious tang, while jalapeños add a subtle, savory kick to cornbread. And Tabasco, perhaps the most famous Louisiana hot sauce, lends its punch to potato chips, mayonnaise, Bloody Marys, and even ice cream.

We wanted to know more about the latter’s...

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Q&A: Mario Monticelli, Napa Valley Winemaker, California

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
December 6, 2016

Mario Monticelli of Trinchero Estate, a Napa Valley winemaker
All photos courtesy of Trinchero Napa Valley

“[At a family-owned winery], you can think with your heart—it’s not about meeting a bottom line.” –Mario Monticelli, Napa Valley winemaker

If you're like us, you've always wondered 1) what's it like to live and work in the gorgeous Napa Valley, and 2) what's it like to be the person responsible for creating some of the fabulous wine that comes out of there. We recently had the opportunity to learn both from Mario Monticelli of Trinchero Napa Valley Winery, a beautiful, state-of-the-art winery (and one of the wildly successful Trinchero Family Estates' brands) whose family legacy stretches back to 1948, when two Italian immigrants...

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Q&A: Joel Haber, Israeli Food Tour Guide, Jerusalem

Naomi Tomky
June 15, 2016

Joel Haber, a culinary tour guide in Jerusalem, at a food market
All photos courtesy of Naomi Tomky                                                        

“[Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market] is not just about the fresh food. It is also a window onto this city’s culture and personality.” —Joel Haber, culinary tour guide in Israel

Joel Haber, also known as “Fun Joel” (and he does live up to that moniker), offers custom tours of all aspects of Israel, but he specializes in our favorite part: Jerusalem’s central market, called Machane Yehuda—or simply, “the Shuk.” When Haber walks the market, greetings come from every direction—vendors and visitors alike, as if he were a popular politician strolling the streets. His vast knowledge of local...

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Q&A: Davide Dukcevich, 3rd-Gen Prosciutto Man, Rhode Island

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
May 29, 2014

Davide Dukcevich of Daniele, Inc in Rhode Island

“I fell in love with the story of my family’s business. It was a story I wanted to tell.” —Davide Dukcevich, co-owner, Daniele, Inc.

We were fortunate to meet Davide and his products recently, and were impressed by how straight-outta-Italy the prosciutto and mortadella tasted. It’s no wonder, given the history of the family business: His grandparents, Croatian refugees who landed in northern Italy after WWII, made sausages there for decades before their son, Davide’s father, brought the business to Rhode Island in 1977. Today, Davide and his brother, Stefano, are running things, overseeing the production of traditionally dry-cured, regionally sourced meats from prosciutto and...

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Q&A: Patrick Murtaugh, Craft Beer Brewer, Richmond, VA

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
January 14, 2014

The founders and craft beer brewers of Hardywood Park brewery, Richmond, VA
             Eric McKay (left) and Patrick Murtaugh of Hardywood Park

“Richmond has a beer scene similar to what you saw 10 years ago in the Pacific Northwest. The market is not yet saturated and there’s still an enthusiasm for craft beer that borders on fanatical.” —Patrick Murtaugh, cofounder and master brewer, Hardywood Park brewery

Tell us about what you do.
In short, we make beer. We lean toward beers that are stylistically underrepresented in the market. Our Reserve Series is dedicated to using at least one local ingredient in each beer: local wildflower honey, baby ginger, blackberries, raspberries, locally roasted coffee. We also put a lot of effort into trying to engage...

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Q&A: Nathan Kaiser, Craft Distiller, Seattle

Naomi Bishop
June 10, 2013

Nathan Kaiser of 2Bar Spirits, in Seattle
Nathan, pictured in 2bar Spirits’ tasting room next to a photo of his grandfather holding his father at 2Bar ranch. Photo by Naomi Bishop

“We are exceptionally fortunate to be located in Seattle—this city celebrates diversity and locally sourced products.”—Nathan Kaiser, owner-operator of 2bar Spirits

Tell us about what you do.
I am the owner-operator of Seattle’s 2bar Spirits, a craft distillery that’s entirely handmade from 100% locally grown grain. 2bar embodies “from grain to glass.” Whole grains arrive from local farmers, and we take those grains and make spirits entirely on site at our SODO location. We make 2bar Vodka, which is a wheat-based vodka, and 2bar Moonshine, a...

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Q&A: Emmanuel Maniadakis, Organic Wine Maker, Québec

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
April 6, 2013

Emmanuel Maniadakis, organic wine maker, in his apple orchard in Quebec

“You don’t get a true representation of terroir by buying fruit from Ontario and adding a French yeast. A great wine is grown, not made in the winery—that’s the only way to get a true taste of the landscape.” –Emmanuel Maniadakis, owner of Verger Biologique Maniadakis

Tell us about what you do.
I grow certified-organic, biodynamic  apples and pears; I make a certified-organic, biodynamic apple ice wine, a pear ice wine, and a still cider (apple wine) with no manipulation, using natural indigenous yeasts and natural filtration, no sulfates added. It’s the only natural wine in all of North America recognized by Nicolas Joly and his group of natural wine makers in France (le...

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Q&A: Hervé Rocheteau, Saunier (salt maker), Île de Ré, France

Cristina Sciarra
May 21, 2012

Ile de Re, west coast of France

“French people believe very strongly in the idea of terroir: We believe in locally made products, especially those that have a strong sense of identity and heritage. If I do my part and make my salt with as much respect as possible, then I’ve done my job.” —Hervé Rocheteau, Île de Ré, a small island off the western coast of France (pictured)

Tell us about your job.
I am a salt maker: My job is to manage a series of salt evaporation ponds, also known as salterns or salt pans. I feed saltwater from the ocean into different ponds very slowly; then the sun and the wind evaporate the water. Finally, the salt concentration becomes so high that it crystallizes, and results in sea salt....

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Q&A: Andrea Stanley, Maltster, Western Massachusetts

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
April 9, 2012

Andrea Stanley, maltster for Valley Malt in Western Massachusetts“Beer and spirits were an essential part of everyday life for the first European settlers of our country. Malting barley was brought over on the first ships with other essentials, like wool and wheat. Records show it was first planted on Martha’s Vineyard in 1604. I would like to eventually grow and malt the original variety of barley that was grown in New England.”—Andrea Stanley, Valley Malt

Tell us about your job.
I am a maltster: I malt grains for brewing and distilling. The process
of malting starts with soaking grain, sprouting it, and drying it. It takes one full week to malt a batch of grain, and we malt in 2,000-pound (one-ton) batches. We started in 2010 with one malting...

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Tags: food producer Q&A beer

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Q&A: Pilar Cabrera, Chef & Cooking Instructor, Oaxaca, Mexico

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
March 2, 2012

Chef Pilar Cabrera, of La Olla Restaurant in Oaxaca, Mexico“I try to portray the colors of the Oaxacan landscape in the food I prepare: color, color, color! Oaxaca is such a vibrant place, and having this reflected in the food you eat here makes Oaxacan cuisine even more enjoyable.”—Chef Pilar Cabrera,
La Olla 

Tell us about your job.
Currently I manage the kitchen of my restaurant La Olla, in Oaxaca, Mexico, and I am also the cooking instructor at Casa de los Sabores Cooking School.

What led you to become a chef?
I started cooking at an early age. My love for the smell, taste, color, and texture of food motivated me to go to university and get a degree in Food Engineering and Nutrition. After graduating I worked for Herdez-McCormick in...

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Q&A: Patrick Martin, BBQ Pit Master, Nolensville, TN

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
February 9, 2012

Patrick Martin of Martin's BBQ Joint in Nolensville, TN.

“I do what I love to do. I love to cook, I love to make folks happy with my food, I love to deepen my knowledge of cooking, I love going in to work. I love working the line.”
–Pat Martin, owner and pit master, Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

Tell us about your job.
I’m a pit master. I’m at Martin’s almost every day. We’re open seven days a week. We have no freezers, we have no microwaves. We make everything on our menu from scratch every single day! We cook whole hog, brisket, shoulders, chicken, turkey, wings—we do it all.

What led you to your current position?
I grew up in a family of amazing Southern cooks—men and women! When I got to college at a tiny school named...

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Q&A: Skip Bennett, oysterman/oyster bar co-owner, Duxbury and Boston, MA

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
January 3, 2012

Skip Bennett, oysterman in Boston“Everyone we hire at ICOB spends time working on the farm so they can truly understand and speak to our culture.
They have a real connection to not only
the farm, but also to all of the people who work so hard growing and harvesting
the oysters.”
–Skip Bennett, founder, Island Creek Oysters; co-owner, Island Creek Oyster Bar

What is your role at Island Creek Oyster Bar?
My role is largely one as a link to the farms, the farmers, and many of the seafood products.

What led you to your current job? 
Years ago, I heard about the Hog Island Oyster Bar out in San Francisco. After a trip there, I came back looking for a way to do something here in Boston. It seemed logical for the...

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Q&A: Shane Milberger, chile grower and processor, Pueblo, CO

Yasmin Ghahremani
November 16, 2011

Shane Milberger on his chile farm in Pueblo, Colorado

“I like to irrigate and cultivate. I like to farm. It’s like painting a picture: With a swipe of a brush you change the whole picture.” –Shane Milberger, owner of Milberger Farms, a chile pepper and vegetable farm with a roadside deli and produce stand

Tell us about your job.
I have 300 acres; of that, 40 acres are chile. We grow mild Anaheim, hot Anaheim, extra hot, Fresno, and the Mira Sol, also known as the Pueblo chile pepper.

This time of year [September] we’re packing chile, we’re harvesting. So I start the mornings off by going out to the shed and making sure everything’s ready to go, the guys are ready to pack, we go over what we’re packing and check what supplies they...

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Q&A: Sy Ginsberg, corned beef king of Detroit

Laura Siciliano-Rosen
October 5, 2011

Corned beef sandwich from Russell Street in Detroit.

“Detroit, being the great melting pot that it is, will continue to shine in its diverse food offerings.” –Sy Ginsberg, co-owner, United Meat & Deli
 

Tell us about your job.
I oversee the processing of our products at United Meat & Deli; I handle the development of new products; I’m in charge of procuring raw materials and ingredients; and I handle much of our national sales.

Another one of my jobs is “deli consultant.” This is my favorite: Since I’ve been involved in the Jewish-style deli business for more than 50 years, I offer assistance to future [deli owners], helping them set up their deli, plan the menu, train, and generally get it off the ground. I do not charge for...

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