Garden & Gun (September 2014)
We don't have a huge list of current culinary heroes.
In fact, it's pretty short. Here are a few people on it:
Mark Bittman (who was at our farmers market in DC on Sunday!), who we have long admired for his work and writing.
Ruth Reichl, who wrote what we think are some of the best memoirs ever.
Christina Tosi, because she invented the Compost Cookie.
Contessa, because she's Contessa.
And then there's Chef Ouita Michel, who most of you probably haven't heard of -- at least not yet.
Clay first met Ouita during college. They were in the same fellowship program, though in different years. When he was an undergraduate, Ouita had already started her first restaurant, Holly Hill Inn, just outside of Lexington, Kentucky. Since then, she's built a bit of an empire, with five restaurants now in the Bluegrass. We visited a few of them earlier this year and wrote briefly about it in our post about 72 Hours in Lexington, KY.
Why is Ouita one of our heroes? First there's the fact that her food is amazing. We've loved everything we've ever had at one of her restaurans. She prioritizes local ingredients from Kentucky, which we love. And then there's the fact that she has stayed in Kentucky to build her restaurants, showing people a new way to eat and employing hundreds of people over the years.
When a recipe from Ouita popped up in the most recent Garden & Gun, we got to cooking. And if it wasn't enough that we were already fans, there were these two beautiful words: Bacon Jam.