JH Food & Wine: An Interview with Katie Button

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Jackson Hole Food & Wine kicks off tomorrow for its bi-annual 3-day festival to celebrate food, wine, spirits and crafts brews in Jackson Hole. These informative, engaging and delicious events bring together renowned local and guest chefs from all over the country. This includes talented chef Katie Button, who owns both Curate Tapas Bar and Button & Co. Bagels in Asheville, North Carolina. Button was generous enough to provide Dishing followers with a closer look into her culinary experience and a recipe from her cookbook “Curate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen.”

For a full list of events, special guest information and to purchase tickets, visit the JH Food & Wine website.jackson hole food & wine

Dishing: Who has been your greatest culinary influence?

Button: Jose Andres. He is my inspiration for a number of reasons. His restaurants introduced me to Spanish cuisine and culture. I have also always been in awe of how he manages his restaurants and the quality of the food and service. But more than anything he has an incredibly generous heart. He has always been so supportive of me, our company and our restaurants. I think his generosity to the world and people at large is absolutely incredible. I’m completely inspired by what he has done with World Central Kitchen and his efforts in disaster relief and standing up for human rights. He is an amazing human being.

What was the inspiration behind your two restaurant concepts?

Curate was our first restaurant, and we were inspired to create a Spanish tapas concept because I had lived in Spain, learned from the Jose Andres restaurant group here in the US and married a Spaniard who is a beverage and service master. The bagel shop came from the fact that I was born in the south, but grew up in New Jersey. Anyone who is from the Northeast knows that bagels are a way of life — they are a deep part of our daily routine and upbringing and I have been missing them greatly in the South. I figured that if I wanted great bagels, I was going to have to create them. We didn’t just want to bring New York to North Carolina; we wanted the bagels to have a sense of place, so we weave local ingredients like sorghum syrup, ramps and sumac into the bagels and bagel sandwiches that we create.

Why are you passionate about the Asheville, North Carolina food scene?

Asheville is an amazing place. There is always so much going on in this small city. I love Asheville because it is a beautiful place to live and at its core it is a community of craftsmen and entrepreneurs. It is full of independent makers pursuing their passion, whether that’s running a restaurant or being a brewer or distiller, creating a bean-to-bar chocolate factory, or milling local flour. It’s an amazing community of passionate makers.

When you visit somewhere new, how do you decide where to eat?

I decide by asking friends and searching online, and then I usually end up with a list that is way too long. I also sometimes check out concepts that are similar to things I might be looking to create or grow to see and learn how others do it.

If you were taking a trip solely based on the food scene, where would you go?

Japan. I am dying to go to Japan.

What are you looking forward to during your time in Jackson Hole for the JHFW Summer Festival?

To discover Jackson Hole. I know very little about it so it is really an exciting trip for me.

Why the switch from the field of science to culinary arts?

My mother ran a catering business out of our home as I grew up. Food has been a big part of my upbringing and I have always had a passion for cooking, but it took me a little while to realize I could have it all and work in what I was passionate about.

What have the awards and nominations you have received meant to you and how does it effect your work?

I feel incredibly honored to have received the awards and recognition that I have. When we were first creating Curate, I didn’t in my wildest dreams imagine that we would receive the level of awards and attention that we have. But to me it comes with great responsibility. I have realized that I am building a platform, so how I use my voice and what I choose to speak out on and the actions that I take can mean a great deal. I have realized that this career is not just about the food we cook, but also the impact we leave on the restaurant industry.

jackson hole food & wine

Katie Button

Katie Button's Gazpacho

Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced, divided
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced, divided
  • 2 pounds super- ripe tomatoes, cored and diced, divided
  • 1 medium garlic clove, chopped, divided
  • 1 cup 1-inch cubes crustless baguette, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry wine, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 112 cup Arbequina extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Instructions

  • 1. You need to work in batches to puree this soup in standard home blenders: combine about one-third of the pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, bread cubes, vinegar, wine, and 1 teaspoon salt with 1?2 cup water in a powerful blender, preferably a Vitamix if you have one.
  • 2. Puree, gradually raising the speed from low to high. With the machine running, add one-third of the oil in a steady stream, then puree until totally smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher.
  • 3. Repeat two more times with the remaining ingredients, using 1 teaspoon salt and 1?2 cup water for each batch. Taste the mixture and add more salt to taste and more water for the right consistency. It should be drinkable. Depending on how much water your tomatoes are holding, you may need to add another 1?2 cup water to the strained soup.
  • 4. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. When it is very cold, it is ready to serve. Stir well and adjust the seasonings again just before serving.
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Excerpted from the book CURATE by Katie Button with Genevieve Ko. Copyright © 2016 by Katie Button with Genevieve Ko. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved.

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About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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