It was a pleasure and a privilege to write this article on J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works for the July issue of Food and Wine. It’s an amazing story of an ancient underground sea, and a family that has been mining salt on this West Virginia plot on and off for generations. Read the article here for the story of this region and salt works, how the salt is produced, and why chefs like Sean Brock and Spike Gjerde like to cook with it so much.
I could go on and on about my recent culinary shotgunning of Portland, Maine. Here’s a quick snapshot of a beloved spot in Portland that’s doing great things with the best ingredients from the waterways and farms nearby.
James Beard award-winning chef and restaurantrepreneur Ashley Christensen is on a roll in downtown Raleigh. After winning Best Chef: Southeast this year, her flagship restaurant Poole’s Downtown Diner is humming, as are her four other places: Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (specializing in fried chicken), Chuck’s (specializing in burgers), Fox Liquor Bar (specializing in being a great bar), and Joule Coffee (a farm-y breakfast spot). Christensen has three new projects in he works a few blocks away: Death and Taxes, a wood-fired-inspired restaurant, Bridge Club, an event space and cooking classroom, and Aux, a commissary kitchen that will serve all of Christensen’s venues.
This week I had a couple of book events in Raleigh, so dropped by Poole’s for dinner, Joule for breakfast the next morning, then walked through her other downtown properties. When I walked into Poole’s, I couldn’t help but think back to sitting at the bar with law school friends a decade ago at Enoteca Vin, the downtown Raleigh spot where Christensen got her start with Chapel Hill chef Andrea Reusing (of Lantern Restaurant, also a Beard award winner). We’d hang out with Christensen for hours and talk food as guests dropped in and out at a leisurely pace. These days Christensen is harder to pin down, bouncing between projects.
Filed Under: cookbook
Last week, I got the first advance copy of my cookbook, The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited, in the mail. Just like that, a book was born.
Overall I was ecstatic. The cover looks great, the interior pages are hefty and glossy, and the photography, which I did myself, looks better in the book than it does digitally. The book feels refined and understated, and I think it’s going to do great.
The publisher will have the first copies in hand at the end of January, and it will start to ship to bookstores all over the country shortly after. It’s available now for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for shipment March 1.
Leading up to publication, I’m planning a tour of speaking engagements, cooking demonstrations, parties, and book signings from Florida, throughout the Southeast, and up to Washington, DC. If you know of any venues that might like to host a demonstrationg or signing, like bookstores, cooking stores, and retail outlets, I’d love it if you’d email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.