Things

Inside Melissa Martin’s Kitchen

9th July 2015

Interview: Adam Park
Photographs: Martin Vargas

The chef behind Mosquito Supper Club on a great local butter, her dad’s old fish-cleaning block and the cookbook that “changed the way I felt about food”

INGREDIENTS

Smith Creamery butter (available in Whole Foods, New Orleans)
“This is my favourite butter. It’s nicely salted, and it’s local – Smith Creamery has been around forever in Washington Parish.” – Melissa

Steen’s cane syrup »
Melissa highly rates this pure cane syrup from Louisiana.

Leaf lard »
The highest grade of lard, from the visceral (or soft) fat around the kidneys and loin of the pig. “If you can get it, this is great for baking.”

Melissa Martin, cofounder of Mosquito Supper Club and Curious Oyster Company

Melissa Martin, cofounder of Mosquito Supper Club and Curious Oyster Company

Melissa Martin, cofounder of Mosquito Supper Club and Curious Oyster Company

Moose meat
“I love moose. Rush [Melissa’s husband] is a hunter, so when he shot a moose we had moose and more moose and still more moose – and then it was like moosagna and moose meat balls, you name it. It lasted forever.”

Organic blue corn flour »
“A local bakery called Bellegarde brings in this phenomenal corn flour fresh from New Mexico and stone-grinds it for me. I use it make scones, muffins and cookies.”

Louisiana Hot Sauce »
“I don’t do Tabasco – this is the good stuff.”

Poirier’s Cane Syrup »
“This guy will make a big batch of cane syrup and all the chefs buy it like crazy people and then you can’t get it until he makes it again. So it’s hard to find but it’s really good.”

OBJECTS

“We lost a lot of stuff in the storm. Everyone did. It was horrendous but now, if you break a cup, it’s like, ‘Oh well’. I don’t really get attached to things like that anymore and that’s such a freeing feeling, even though I had a lot of things before the storm that were really near and dear to me.” – Melissa

Jade casserole dish
“My dad give me a jade casserole dish that I’ve been holding to forever. I am one of six kids but my sisters voted that I could have it for my wedding. But I never use it in case I break it.”

Melissa’s father’s fish table
A large wooden block that Melissa now uses as her kitchen island. “This has been in the family for 30 years. My dad would clean fish and do all different things on it. It survived the storm, it wasn’t destroyed. When I left for Napa I put it in my friend’s house and only got it back a month ago.”

BOOKS

Cooking by Hand, Paul Bertolli »
Bertolli is a Bay Area chef, author and food producer who made his name at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. “This was the cookbook that changed the way I felt about food. His piece on the ripeness of fruit and the way he relates that to life – it’s jolting and I love it.” – Melissa

Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi »
Veg-focused cookbook from the renowned Israeli chef. “Vegetables are the hardest thing to cook. Meat is easy in comparison. How many times do you have a squash and do the same darn thing with it? That’s why this cookbook is so inspiring.”

Melissa Martin, cofounder of Mosquito Supper Club and Curious Oyster Company

The Art of Simple Food, Alice Waters »
“I’ve read pretty much everything by Alice Walters. I like the way she’s run her restaurant [Chez Panisse] as a sort of creative director and let people grow up through it.”

Consider the Oyster, MFK Fisher »
“One of the best cookbooks. This was a huge inspiration for my oyster bar. I love her style of writing and her take on the oysters in the 40s was amazing.”

One Big Table, Molly O’Neill »
“Your website really reminds me of this. Molly O’Neill travelled across the US, cooking at home with home different people. It’s pretty cool. I checked it out from the library and wanted to revisit it so much I bought it. It’s just really inspiring to look at.”

Posted 9th July 2015

In Things

 

Interview: Adam Park
Photographs: Martin Vargas

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