From Pickled Pork Cheeks to PB&J Foie Gras, Phoenix Chefs Are Serving It Up In a Jar
Nikki Buchanan Jidori chicken liver pâté at Baratin
See also: Tracy Dempsey: Tracy Dempsey Originals
See also: Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House
See also: Chef Pete DeRuvo To Head Kitchen at New Davanti Enoteca
See also: Tastemaker 86: Cullen Campbell
Nothing says "Hey, Y'all" like a big ol' Mason jar of sweet tea, and folksy restaurants (corporate and independent alike) have been playing that "country" card for a coon's age.
But nowadays, Mason jars, Ball jars and jars of all shapes and sizes have become the voguish vessels of choice for restaurants turning out trendy comfort food (which, by the way, is not an oxymoron).
Potted meats, pickled eggs (really, pickled anything) and puddings -- dusted off and sexied up -- are back in a big way, and they're showing up in jars all over town.
Why jars? The better question is "Why not jars?" They're sturdy, inexpensive and easily replaced if broken. And from the customer's point of view, they offer a homey, approachable presentation that's just different enough to be fun.
Independent dessert maker and our very first Tastemaker Tracy Dempsey, of Tracy Dempsey Originals, probably was the first in town to get the Ball jar trend rolling. Although she says she's "always had a soft spot for funky little food containers," (a predilection she suspects she inherited from her Depression-era, jar-saving grandmother), she had an Aha! Moment when she saw appetizers in canning jars in a French magazine a few years ago.
Hooked from that moment on, she started collecting interesting jars and putting anything and everything in them. She's become famous for her jarred desserts.
For chef-owner Cullen Campbell at Crudo, she makes tiramisu (sometimes the old fashioned way, sometimes with chocolate), a layered dessert that looks especially pretty in a clear jar.
Nikki Buchanan Tiramisu at Crudo
For Citizen Public House, Dempsey makes Black and Tan, a layer of dark chocolate pot de crème, caramel pudding, whipped cream, pretzel brittle and brown sugar shortbreads ($10).
Nikki Buchanan Citizen's Black and Tan