JASON GOES HOG WILD

A veteran chef who honed his knives at Vancouver’s Save-On Meats, Boneta and, counter-intuitively, at the all-vegetarian The Parker, Jason Leizert is now Kelowna’s resident tip-to-tail expert. If I needed proof, I found it recently in a plump pork chop, served with a farrago of braised cabbage and apple, that put paid to a wintry day.

In Leizert’s deli cooler more evidence lies in state: carefully cured hams, salamis, lardo and a majestic duck prosciutto are on display for those of us who want to take something delicious home.

HIS FOOD TRANSCENDENT

Cold cuts, which food snots call charcuterie (which might just be baloney), enjoy a lengthy heritage in the Okanagan. Old world butchers with the names of Illichmann and Reiner and their peers, made sausages and cured meats for us for decades.

No one has staked a claim like Leizert to such a diverse offering of cured and smoked meats. And for that matter, fish – we’d heard that some smoked steelhead was transcendent, however it wasn’t on the fresh sheet the day we visited.

EVERYTHING LOCAL

The Salted Brick describes modern Okanagan dining, both in its sourcing of local ingredients (such as North Thompson farmer, John Clops’ naturally raised pigs) and a short but dynamic wine list,  but also in its design, which is a model of functionality. It was designed by Jorin Wolf and built on a modest budget: along one brick wall lies a banquette that runs the length of the dining room. Opposite is where Chef Leizert whirls between his Rational oven, fridges and prep station. Much like a sushi chef, he’s available for consultation and commentary at any time.

NOTE: The above article (condensed for this web story) was written for THE FOOD GUIDE JOURNAL by JAMIE MAW.  Jamie Maw has written about food for 25 years, and is a National Magazine Award winner.  He is also an inductee in the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jennifer Schell – The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheesemaker – In the Okanagan, 2016