Since opening Big Jones in 2008, Paul Fehribach has been commited to the legacy of Southern cooking; in fact, he has hundreds of historic, regional cookbooks stacked at home to prove it. The new fall menu at Big Jones—which debuts for brunch on November 6 and for lunch and dinner the following day—is the first to interpret these historic ways of living into composed dishes.
Many of the a la carte dishes and the new family-style meals are printed on the menu with the specific location and period of time that they reference. But Fehribach says it's not as though he just found an old recipe and dusted it off. "The concept of the recipe as we know it today didn't arise until the 1880s," he says. "Up until that time, there were receipts that described the process of making a dish. The measurements weren't that precise."
Combining the narrative recipe with traditional, often heirloom ingredients, gives diners an insight into the culture of a Southern region. Pulling this off involves an extensive amount of staff training to ensure that servers can explain ingredients and context to guests. Through staff meals and discussions, Fehribach introduces the staff to the archaic vocabulary and regional ingredients. However, he ensures the menu won't be purely a history lesson: "A lot of people just aren't going to care about that stuff. Our goal is for the food to be as delicious as it's always been." [The Feast]
Photo Credit: Big Jones