“I like it for food that is braised or long-cooked and can either be made in advance or cooked slowly for hours without needing a lot of caretaking.”.

We run the dinners down the road at the old dance hall in La Madera.

He believes that all of this—keeping animals and maintaining the land— is a way of growing Shed “in quality, not necessarily scale,” with a farm that will one day be “a little larger than myself,” he says. The natural sweetness of the legumes is augmented by the slow cooking for an unparalleled result. Those cooked in a stainless-steel soup pot were relatively bland, tough, and sharp-tasting. I was born in 1991 in the small town in New Mexico called Taos, where I grew up partially in town and partially on the the Taos Pueblo. The location could be temporary (his first was in Mill Valley, California), or the menu might get retired after so many dinners. I grew up a vegetarian, in a family who really weren't the most prolific cooks and I an extremely picky eater. The distinctive pregnant-bellied pots, whose mica content gives the surface a glittery appearance, are the legacy of the late Apache potter Felipe Ortega, who died in 2018. For the next 2.8 years I gave my heart and soul to this restaurant.

Those kinds of self-imposed limits, or creative bookends, became a precept for starting Shed, and what he would start to call his “dinner series,” a collection of meals that together constitute a body of work. Most plates, it seems, have fewer than five ingredients. Johnny Ortiz pulls out a hand-forged trowel from an oversize white canvas bag and kneels down after spotting a wilting golden-brown stem about two feet tall. Seasoning, cleaning, and storing them properly are easy but necessary steps to keep them in good condition. It could be the best bowl of beans that you’ll ever eat.”. The clay quickly heated and dried, creating a crust in which the birds steamed. Clay is even good for cooking in its raw, unfired state. At the end of the season there I had ran out of money and was craving that intensity of a Michelin star restaurant again. While I wouldn’t recommend searing and frying in clay pots—thermal shock of cold ingredients hitting the hot pan can cause breakage—gentler cooking methods rewarded us with deep, delicious flavor. Phone: (505) 827-7447 Then there’s the mountain nettle that seasons the bison bone broth. TagineThe tagine’s conical lid stays cooler than the base during cooking, collecting and condensing aromatic steam, which continually bastes the ingredients. ON A COOL EVENING LAST SPRING, I pulled my rental car to the side of the road and got out in front of a small white building in La Madera, New Mexico. require(["jquery", "domReady! I’d cooked from Paula Wolfert’s seminal Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, and I’d dabbled with cooking rice in a Chinese clay pot and beef stew in a ceramic braising pan. Ortiz served everything in his handmade, unglazed pottery, which lent a mineral essence to every bite of the perfectly seasoned food. I applied to almost every restaurant in the city and on the second day received replies from a couple restaurants, one being Alinea. It's the longest I have ever stayed at one job. Forget brining; forget hair dryers—the Römertopf is the key to the best roast chicken you’ll ever make.

DRY TREE BRANCHES AND TURNING LEAVES crack underfoot as we amble through a dense forest of ponderosa pine. // if we are coming from the same domain then we show the button, otherwise a user got her from Google or some other means so we don't “It’s actually more destructive to buy these materials than to sustainably harvest them,” he continues, cautious of reaping too much. His philosophy of serving with the seasons, and building a menu of foraged and fished fare, was born out of his work at chef René Redzepi’s Noma, in Copenhagen, perennially named the best restaurant in the world.

Chinese Clay Pot
Chinese clay pots are wrapped in a heat-diffusing wire to prevent thermal shock so that they can be used over high heat. But perhaps most crucially for humankind, clay became cookware. Shed’s dinners, which consist of a prix fixe menu of 12 small plates, are but the “fruiting body” of an entire ecology. Then I see the root, earth-colored and covered in tiny, coarse hairs. ON THE NIGHT OF THE DINNER, number 45.5, it feels as if winter has set in, though it’s not even November. I still struggled with how to translate all of it to my own home cooking. But I end up cooking some really simple stuff,” Ortiz later tells me of his menu. Read more: How to Get Started with Clay Pot Cooking, Bean PotMicaceous clay from New Mexico transfers heat gently to beans, cooking them evenly in an alkaline environment, which neutralizes any bean-toughening acids. My grandma tried sending my mom to a school for pregnant women and my dad went back for her.

This is only the Shed’s most recent location—an old rented dance hall in La Madera—and is itself temporary as Ortiz and Love ready another building in Vallecitos, an adobe house that they’ll one day live in, which shares the property of a defunct mercantile that they envision as Shed's ultimate location. After drying again, the pots are sanded and then burnished with river stones, creating a perfectly smooth surface.

The pot, he explained, was made of a mica-rich clay that was alkaline, which softened and sweetened the piquant, acidic paste. var backBtn = $('[data-sv-magazine-back-button]'); All Rights Reserved. The Forager’s Art Chef Johnny Ortiz gathers and raises the ingredients for his 12-person, reservation-only meals, served on dishes he also makes by hand.

I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.

“You’re not able to see a place for what it is until you leave. She shares her passion widely: You can watch her try her hand at making a tagine on David Chang’s Netflix show Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, and she included one in her Cravings cookware line for Target.

Chef Kyle Connaughton uses donabe to cook most dishes at his three-Michelin-star restaurant, SingleThread Farms in Healdsburg, California. Victor Protasio.

Ortiz, who trained at Alinea in Chicago; The Willows Inn in Lummi Island, Washington; and Saison in San Francisco, had come back to his home state to cook off the land and showcase the flavors of New Mexico. Interspersed with local libations like Gruet’s Sauvage and a beer collaboration between Shed and Rowley’s in Santa Fe, each course surprises. Raw elk meat crowned by a spray of rosa de campo. “At the other places I worked, it was always about the outcome,” Ortiz says. After eating those mica-cooked beans, I wanted a pot to cook with at home, so I contacted chef Katharine Kagel, of Santa Fe’s classic restaurant Cafe Pasqual’s, who is an expert in micaceous clay pots. I packed up my car and drove straight to San Francisco not knowing at the time but Saison was undergoing construction on a new space and because the buildout took so long most of the previous team had left.

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