Seasoned Chef, Seasonal Food (podcast)

Nov 22nd, 2017 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Jack Allen's Kitchen Cookbook

Jack Allen’s Kitchen Cookbook

Most restaurants in Austin that have come on line in…say…the last 15 years all offer some locally sourced produce, meat, dairy, spirits and more on their menus.

Austin diners practically demand it.

Chef Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen–with three locations in the Austin area–was one of the first to develop a restaurant around seasonal goodness from local farms and makers.

However, he says that was not always the case.

Although he grew up in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas surrounded by fields of citrus orchards and other locally grown food, as a young man in the restaurant business, he said it was commonplace to buy what he needed from large distributors and not direct from farmers. Of course, 20 plus years ago, we didn’t have the number of farms and makers that we do today.

The increased availability of locally sourced foodstuffs coincided with Jack’s increased consciousness about its value to his cooking and his community. As he witnessed the increase in small family farms, and how hard they worked to bring their products to market, in tandem with the growing community of Farmers Markets and the momentum of the locavore movement, a light went off. But it was conversations with his son Bryce Gilmore that placed Jack Gilmore firmly in the local camp.

Jack says Bryce, of Barley Swine and Odd Duck restaurants, attended culinary school in California. During that time, whenever the two spoke, the younger Gilmore regaled his father with the joys of using fresh, local, and seasonal food. So, when Jack developed Jack Allen’s Kitchen, he made a promise to himself and farmers that his menu would highlight and support their efforts.

Jack Gilmore says while most restaurants that use local products, maintain core menus items, including his, seasonality drives much of what he and other restaurateurs present to diners. He encourages home cooks to visit farmers markets, especially this time of year, as that’s where shoppers will find the freshest most flavorful foods for the holiday table (or any time of year), while keeping money in your local community, and keeping area farmers in their fields.

And if you need a little inspiration, we have recipes from Jack’s cookbook: Jack Allen’s Kitchen: Celebrating the Tastes of Texas here.

 

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  1. My favorite recipe to make during the holidays is potato rolls. Leftover dough can also be used to make “cinnamon rolls” for breakfast the next day–take dough put a marshmellow that has been rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar roll seal and roll in butter and cinnamon sugar and bake — yum, yum!

  2. I have just started to think about holiday cooking and at this point have more than a few favorites I hope to prepare. I am definitely thinking about Almendrado, a fluffy Mexican dessert that my mother used to make during the holidays. It has almonds and almond extract, gelatin and lots of eggs. The fluffy part can be colored so that it is red, white & green and the golden sauce goes on top. We often enjoyed this somewhat unknown dessert in New Mexico. Another holiday New Mexican favorite that I like to prepare is pozole. I also have Hungarian palacsinta (crepes made with cottage cheese) on my list.

  3. One of my favorite things to make this time of year is cornbread. I like to make traditional cornbread and I also like to make this cornbread cake which turns out to be sweet and light. It is my moms favorite.

  4. Love love love Jack Allen’s. We are so fortunate to live close to the Y location and visit often!

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