Shop This Pantry, Filled with Ingredients by Seattle Chef Edouardo Jordan
Chefs and restaurant owners everywhere have had to rethink their business models this year, as social distancing and new regulations for public safety have turned the equation upside down. Many dine-in eateries have edited their menus to include delivery and takeout-friendly dishes, while others have drastically reduced capacity or opened up sidewalk dining options; others have shuttered completely. And with the colder seasons upon us, the fates of countless small and independent establishments hang in uncertainty.
For Edouardo Jordan, the chef, restaurateur, and two-time James Beard Award winner behind Salare, JuneBaby, and Lucinda Grain Bar in Seattle, navigating this new era has involved a creative approach to nourishing customers. In May, JuneBaby launched a bi-monthly CSA program in partnership with local growers, largely in response to sudden farmer’s market closures and restaurant suppliers that struggled to find business. “It needs to make financial sense to reopen our restaurants,” Jordan says. “Reopening at twenty-five, fifty, or even seventy-five percent capacity doesn't make financial sense. I want these businesses to see the other side of this.”
Throughout the summer, his team expanded to themed boxes for barbeques, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and Southern cooking. While the team’s CSA season has largely wrapped for the year, look to JuneBaby’s expanding pantry program for the best ingredients from African diasporan and Southern cooking, including cornbread mix, ancient grain pancake mix, sorghum syrup, jams, and Jordan’s famous pimento cheese. “We try to focus on what we do best,” says Jordan, who’s managing to keep his head up through it all. “One of the positive things that has happened is that I actually had time to start a garden,” he adds. “It’s been exciting to grow and enjoy the bounty of tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh herbs. I’m already planning for next year’s crop.”