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Chef Q&A: Harold Marmulstein of Salty Sow

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LEFT: Brunch image from last year’s Celebrity Chef Brunch courtesy of Nina Lea Photography. RIGHT: Harold Marmulstein, photo provided by the Salty Sow in Austin, Texas.

For the 17th year running, Meals on Wheels Delaware has a produced a nationally-acclaimed chef lineup for its annual “Meals from the Masters” fundraising series. Unfolding this weekend, April 25–27, food-loving locals can spend three full days rubbing elbows with international chefs—all of whom are flying in to Wilmington to entice East Coast palates with fine food and drink, and more importantly, collectively band together to support the meal-providing non-profit.

On April 27, the fundraising series will conclude with a delicious finale, the Celebrity Chef Brunch, which will throw an attractive mix of nationally-sourced chefs under one roof for a righteous tasting affair that’s packed with endless dishes, cocktails and meet-and-greets.

On the attending 30+ chef roster is Austin, Texas’ Harold Marmulstein, a nose-to-tail crusader specializing in locally-sourced, farm-fresh products at the Salty Sow. In anticipation for this pork-centric master to hit Delaware on Sunday, we tapped the chef to find out what it’s like to rock the Austin food scene, what we must eat when we visit him in the Lone Star State and what he’ll be cooking come Sunday.

Main Course: Austin, Texas has experienced a nose-to-tail, pork-centric renaissance over the last few years, becoming much more of a food scene than just a Tex-Mex town. You, with your Salty Sow kitchen, are a leader in this. What does it mean to you to respect the pig? What’s your current favorite pig cut or part?

Harold Marmulstein: We do a whole lot more than just pig at Salty Sow. We have a lot of farm-fresh vegetables on the menu, we buy them from a local organic farm five miles from us in Austin. We do use a lot of pork here, as the pig is a magical animal and you can use just about everything. My favorite cut is the shoulder because of its fat and tenderness.

Many of your Salty Sow dishes (both in Phoenix and Austin) arrive with a Southern bent. Can you discuss your stints spent in the South? How did they influence your cooking style?

I have spent more of my life now in the south than the northeast. The connection with the seasons, farmers, the slow-cooking attitude and fresh ingredients is what influenced me, I spent 20 years in Atlanta, 7 in Baltimore, 4 in Austin, 2 in Florida, and a little time in Mississippi.

I’m sitting down at Salty Sow for my “last supper.” What do you suggest I order? What should I drink?

You’d eat crispy brussels sprout leaves, charcuterie board, roasted organic beet salad, slow-cooked pork shoulder and bananas Foster beignets. For drinks, start with a Little Larry [Blanche frozen margarita topped with Grand Marnier], move to a Petey [Deep Eddy’s grapefruit vodka, mint, orange, Topo Chico], and have a maple-glazed Old-Fashioned.

To you, what has been the best benefit of being a chef for so many years?

The sense of joy people get when dining with me—it’s the simple pleasures in life that need to be celebrated.

How did you become involved in teaming up with the East Coast’s Meals on Wheels Delaware? What will you be cooking up for supporters at the Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch?

They reached out to me and I said I would love to. I have always been a supporter of Meals on Wheels and will continue to! I will be doing a bacon sampling with all the fixins’—four different types, cures and smoke of bacons made in house.

Catch Harold Marmulstein among an all-star culinary lineup at Meals on Wheels Delaware’s Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch, which unfolds Sunday, April 27, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Hercules Plaza (1313 N. Market St., Wilmington). Tickets are $175 per person and can be purchased here. Win free all-access passes, courtesy of The Town Dish here. All proceeds to benefit  Meals On Wheels Delaware.

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