Using distillery discards, chef Matt Jamie is spicing things up in Louisville.
While working as a chef in Florida, Matt came up with the idea to make his own soy sauce. When he moved to Kentucky in 2005, he began creating his own sauces but added a twist—fermenting them in old Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels.
Now, in addition to his soy sauces, Matt makes marinades, vinaigrettes, and Worcestershire sauces, as well as bourbon-smoked sea salts, peppercorns, and paprika. His Bourbon Barrel Foods company started barreling along a couple of years ago when chefs such as Edward Lee of Magnolia 610 in Louisville and Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston, South Carolina, took to using his ingredients in their dishes.
While Matt also fashions some furniture from barrels (think barstools and tables), his sauces remain his bread and butter. Prices from $6. bourbonbarrelfoods.com
The Barrels: “By law, bourbon distillers can use their barrels only once. We reclaim them for use with our products, including our bourbon-smoked peppers, salts, and sugars.”
The Ingredients: “For our soy sauce, we use Kentucky-grown soybeans, soft winter wheat, and limestone-filtered spring water—the same water that bourbon distillers use.”
The Uses: “I put the soy sauce on sushi, noodles, asparagus, seared beef—just about everything. It’s comfort food. And the paprika is great on popcorn with Parmesan cheese and melted butter.”
The Philosophy: “Our motto is ‘slow, small, and simple.’ We have a dedicated base of customers, so I always want to take a hands-on approach.”