Vegan BBQ, Kurdish Catering and Charcuterie – Oh My!
Food: Interviews & Features
One of the best things about the culinary industry is its dynamic state. When a need arises, creative and passionate foodies step up to the plate. Christopher Blatchford of Blatch’s Backyard BBQ, Naz Rasull of Naz Foodies, and Jessica Gonzalez of Harvest and Honey Co. did just that by starting micro-businesses facilitated by Instagram.
Blatchford aims to expand the minds of those who previously might have been hesitant to try vegan foods with Blatch’s Backyard BBQ. His menu, one that is entirely in-house and from scratch, is roughly 95% vegan and offers mouth-watering dishes such as Fried ChickenLESS Sandos, Vegan Reubens and CodLESS Tacos. A sliver of the menu is reserved for the meat eaters out there, but he is confident that once you try his unique take on vegan BBQ, you won’t regret it. While his recipes are a closely guarded secret, he did share that he uses a blend of powdered, dehydrated smoked mushrooms, herbs and vegetables, a mixture which he adds to a slow-extracted vegetable broth and a protein-rich flour to create “the magic.” His favorite part of the whole process is welcoming customers into his home. “I love to visit with my customers, talk about my process, show them my garden, do taste tests and meet new people,” says Blatchford. Before he converts his bedroom into a walk-in cooler, he would love to expand when the opportunity presents itself, and as he says, “Just imagine where the future will take Blatch’s. This is only the vegan-ing.”
“Just imagine where the future will take Blatch’s. This is only the vegan-ing.”
Having watched her mother cook as a child, Naz Foodies’ Rasull taught herself how to cook through the advice of her family and trial and error. She doesn’t have a set menu, however, dishes such as shawarma and fatteh (a toasted pita layered with roasted eggplant, chickpeas and sauce), are featured more often than not. While choosing a favorite dish is difficult, she is a fan of flavorful salads such as fattoush or tabouli. Kurdish cuisine is complementary, which allows for endless possibilities of pairing entrees and side dishes. She would like to eventually open a cafe, as Salt Lake does not offer much Kurdish food. She enjoys “seeing people experience the food [she] knows and telling them a little about [her] culture.” Running her own catering service out of her home allows her a greater freedom to be with her children while also cooking delectable dishes that are versatile and can be either vegan or non-vegan. And, no meal is complete without a handmade dessert such as Baklava.
“Kurdish cuisine is complementary, which allows for endless possibilities of pairing entrees and side dishes.”
Gonzalez once lived in a caseophile’s dream location—above an artisanal cheese shop. The only real path she could have taken beyond that was to open her own charcuterie company, Harvest and Honey Co. “I was a mouse in a past life,” she says, “and have always had a passion for cheese.” Sourcing her ingredients as seasonally as she can, she takes advantage of the exquisite cheese cave at Caputo’s Market And Deli. Learning the art of arranging cheese, meats and accouterments was something that came over time. She has since perfected her technique and her preferences to ensure each board is fun and full of complementary flavors. “There really aren’t any rules when it comes to charcuterie,” says Gonzalez. That aside, she does strive to do it right by including salty, sweet and savory on every board, but it all comes down to customer preference and how it is eaten.
“I was a mouse in a past life and have always had a passion for cheese.”
From bespoke charcuterie boards to “mind-blowing” vegan BBQ to home-cooked Kurdish food that is good for the body and soul, these three business owners offer this community the best of themselves. Support your local foodie—you won’t be disappointed. For more information and to order food, follow them on Instagram @blatchsbackyardbbq, @nazfoodies and @harvestandhoneyco.