Jon Waalkes - At Home Chef
November BLiCher Creature
This month we would like to take the time to recognize excellence in one of our "at-home-chef" friends, Jon Waalkes.
Jon has used a wide range of our products in ways we feel you need to see to believe. He is very active in his kitchen at home and shares most of his creations with us on Twitter!
Before we let Jon share one of his personal recipes with you we are going to let him introduce himself:
"Growing up I was surrounded by food with a large home garden in the summer and working in the family butcher shop where my father, uncle, and occasionally my grandfather worked. I started working in the butcher shop at a very young age washing dishes and eventually taking on more responsibilities of counter service, prep, and butchering. This background has been invaluable as a cook in understanding different cuts and preparations of meats, but cooking for me didn’t really set in until years later. It was experiencing food at great restaurants that really opened my eyes to the food I enjoy preparing today.
One of my favorite places to dine was (and still is) Rick Bayless’s Topolobampo in Chicago, IL. Having dined there a couple times I picked up Rick Bayless’s classic cookbook Mexican Kitchen – this book changed everything. For the first time, I began to understand the methods and steps of cooking with the well-written explanations of how and why the steps were taken. As I started cooking from this book my family and friends benefited from great meals, reinforcing my new “hobby” of cooking. This book is now around 18 years old, heavily stained, and still my favorite – I will always credit Rick Bayless for teaching me how to cook through this book. Today there are well over a hundred cookbooks on the bookshelf we built into our dining area and I maintain an active wish list of many more to add (I always justify that one meal out of a new book is cheaper than going out to dinner).
As I branched out with my cooking, the passion has evolved to the point where the kitchen has become the heart of our home and we regularly entertain friends and family around a meal. I’m always trying to learn more about different cuisines and cooking methods to expand upon my repertoire. A few years back this even led me to build a wood fired brick oven off the corner of our deck – one of the best projects ever. We now regularly enjoy wood fired pizzas and use the oven almost year round.
The most important part of cooking for me is starting with the best possible ingredients. We regularly purchase pastured meats from local farmers, grow vegetables in our garden in the summer, and frequent the farmer’s market year round. To compliment these fresh ingredients I love to use BLiS products when I prepare a meal. The complex flavors that BLiS products add to a dish are the finishing touch in adding that “something extra”. Whether it’s a drizzle of the barrel aged fish sauce over some sautéed vegetables or a simple splash of the barrel aged Sherry vinegar, BLiS always brings out the extra flavor that standard products just can’t match. The following salmon recipe is a great example of how much BLiS products can add to a dish. I hope you enjoy!"
@JRWQuattro on Twitter
Click the recipe below to learn how Jon makes his "BLiS Maple Syrup, BLiS Blast and Lime Glazed Salmon"