Salt in Montpelier is about to lose its chef of a year, Ryan Zacher. But owner (and former Seven Days food editor) Suzanne Podhaizer isn't seeking his replacement. Instead, she says, she took the opportunity to rethink her culinary goals.
"I'm trying to get away from all the ideas of what constitutes a typical restaurant and not to be bound by what other people are doing — just what I want to do," says Podhaizer. Zacher will cook his final meals at Salt at the end of this month. In the first week of September, the petite restaurant on Barre Street will be making some changes.
The plan involves an additional Podhaizer, Suzanne's sister Elizabeth. The recent recipient of a PhD in pharmacology and toxicology, Elizabeth Podhaizer has been applying her laboratory-honed accuracy to baking at Salt. In the business' new life, she'll also be working with her sister as a culinary consultant.
Beginning next month, Salt will serve dinner only on weekend evenings. On Friday and Saturday, the sisters will prepare prix-fixe dinners with themes, much like those the eclectic Salt has served since it opened in late 2010. Each Sunday meal will be a more casual, family-style dinner focused on farm-fresh fare.
The rest of the week, Podhaizer will devote the space to fostering small businesses. The Salt kitchen will be available to home-based food businesses as well as host pop-up dinners from purveyors such as Woodbelly Pizza, which will serve weekly meals there. Other interested businesses can contact Podhaizer at email@example.com.
But Podhaizer says she's perhaps most excited about her new life as a locavore consultant, in which she plans to offer a suite of services that will empower her clients to cook farm-to-table at home. Those might include farmers market visits, guidance in making the most of CSA baskets and private cooking classes at clients' homes or at Salt. Podhaizer also hopes to cater to restaurateurs in the area and, perhaps, around the country.
Not bad for a former food critic.
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