Chef News

Harold Marmulstein of Salty Sow in Phoenix on Cooking at the James Beard House (Again) and What Phoenix Does Better Than Austin

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"We were always warned how small the kitchen is, how small this is and that," Marmulstein says. "I think people are just used to big kitchens. Coming from my [tiny] Austin restaurant, the [Beard House] kitchen was huge."

Still, cooking at the house requires lots of planning. Chefs aren't allowed into the kitchen until 8 a.m. the day before the dinner, and they are asked to prepare three- to five-course dinners for up to 80 people. It's no easy feat and requires that most of the prep work be done off-site.

What's more, chefs featured at Beard House dinners have to supply their own food, wine, staff, and travel accommodations. Marmulstein estimates it costs between $20,000 and $25,000 for the restaurant to send him and his staff to cook in New York.

So why do it?

"It sets you apart from the rest of the pack, as far as a consumer's viewpoint," Marmulstein says. "It legitimizes what you're doing."

This year, the menu includes seasonally influenced dishes that highlight Salty Sow's American-gastropub cuisine. There's Scotch eggs with Creole remoulade; zucchini Parmesan soup with basil pistou; and a rich bone-in filet mignon with foie gras, morel mushrooms, and bone marrow red wine sauce. The wine pairings will include selections from Napa Valley, as well as an Austin-made beer and wine.

Leading up to the New York dinner, Salty Sow will host two James Beard House Preview Dinners on April 1 and April 15. The dinner costs $75 per person and reservations can be made by calling 602-795-9463.

Marmulstein splits his time between Phoenix and Austin, where the original Salty Sow restaurant is located. Both restaurants come from the same Phoenix and Austin-based restaurateurs behind popular spots such as Roaring Fork and Hopdoddy Burger Bar; they also founded Eddie V's and Wildfish restaurants.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria