Several of our gourmet gift boxes container vinegars and olive oils from Sparrow Lane Artisan Vinegars & Provisions. Sparrow Lane is Culinarie Kit’s first vinegar supplier, and boy did we luck out! These vinegars are so aromatic and delicious that we’ve used them on everything, from proteins to greens to fruit salads.
Here’s an interview with Jesse Layman, head chef of Sparrow Lane:
Culinarie Kit: If your vinegars had a mission statement, what would it be?
Jesse Layman: Our mission is to be the one primary ingredient in every kitchen that is worth its salt. To bring out flavor naturally while adding an element that makes your taste buds want more.
Like the James Bond of ingredients, a secret agent, is the one you call to get the job done, smooth tasteful, bold, yet so subtle and suave.
CK: Did you always know you wanted to work with food? How did you end up producing artisan vinegars instead of, say, opening a restaurant?
JL: I was raised in restaurants and that is all I ever wanted to do. I love seeing people eating with friends and relaxing. It was my goal to own a chain of restaurants and although that didn’t quite happen I have owned several. Sparrow Lane vinegar has been an intricate part of my pantry for years, so when I was offered to come take over the marketing and sales and be the chef for them it was a natural choice.
CK: What’s your personal favorite vinegar that you produce and recipe to use it in?
JL: Wow, I always get asked this and it is really hard. They are like your kids, you love them all equally just somedays you like one a little more. It just depends on what I am making or how I want to create the outcome. I really like playing with more than one in a dish, like using Pear Raspberry to toss with baby greens and fresh fruit (pears, berries or apples) and then finishing lightly with Walnut Champagne, for a nutty essence that is allergy free.
CK: Do you have any new products in the works that we should be excited about?
JL: Yes, we are always playing with new ideas and vinegar based products. We are ready to launch our line of finishing sauces for the BBQ season. And we will have a couple new things, hopefully, come first of the year.
CK: If you could have one celebrity chef use your vinegars in a recipe, who would you pick?
JL: That is easy because many of today’s celebrity chefs already use Sparrow Lane and we are always in their pantry. But I would of liked to have had Madeleine Kamman and James Beard use it and we could have dinner and discuss the benefits of using acid.
CK: Lastly, tell us your favorite foodie/chef joke:
JL: I was cooking on a morning television show in Utah and being shadowed by the very attractive host. She kept looking over my shoulder asking questions as I intently stayed focused on what I was doing. I placed a sauté pan on the open flame and turned around to grab something when she excitedly asked me why, as she watched it start to smoke. Without a thought I said, “because when we are ready, its best to do it hot and fast.” She took a step back, blushed and looked at the camera and stuttered, “We will be right back.”