For Chef Chris Smith, cooking in a couple of kitchens in an Arizona art colony and small town turned into a big opportunity. After eating at Asylum Restaurant in Jerome several times when Smith was chef there, multi-platinum-selling musician turned Arizona winemaker Maynard James Keenan picked him to lead the culinary team at his new concept, Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria in Cottonwood.
Grace Unger comes from a long line of professional foodies. She grew up making sausages in her grandfather’s food lab in Sedona. Her father worked in the meat industry and ran restaurants.
“You know how sometimes when you go out to eat, you’re just blown away by a certain dish?” Unger asks. “Our goal is to make Tuck Shop like that, every time you come in.”
The backstory is in the name at Lawless Jerky. The law was becoming less interesting for founder Matt Tolnick, so the former defense litigator left his 80-hour-week lawyer job and started a beef jerky company in Santa Monica before he relocated operations to Phoenix.
The man now lives for his company.
“Everything I do has some angle to jerky,” Tolnick says. “When your whole life is thrown into it, it becomes, hopefully, a healthy obsession.”
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