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3 2 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t Chef Suzanne Tracht began her culinary career in her home state of Arizona, where she left college to work under Siegbert Wendler of the Biltmore Resort and Spa. She opened the modern Los Angeles chophouse Jar with fellow chef Preech Narkthong in 2001; the restaurant has become well-known for its delicious modern American protein-focused dishes like pot roasts, steaks and pork chops. According to Tracht, "My cooking influences are what's available during the season and what's at the farmer's market in Santa Monica. We're so lucky to have everything right here: fresh fruits and vegetables." Tracht wanted to do something hearty that would feature a lot of fresh vegetables, while also showcasing what makes Jar so popular: its meats. Tracht's dish features braised pork shanks, which are brined overnight, then sea- soned with a dry rub before being seared then braised with celery, leeks, ginger, fennel, Jack Daniel's, sherry and stock. It's served with small parsnips from Wizer Farms. "Everybody knows Jack Daniel's," Tracht explains. "It's got the flavors and sweetness that go so well with pork shanks, and it brings out the flavors and aromat- ics that we use in the braise." Diners at Jar find the large pork shank, served bone-in, a visually appealing dish, one that's become quite popular on the menu. "People love it!" Tracht enthuses. "They see it being served and want to know what it is and order it." COOKING WITH SPIRITS The Knife & Fork Inn is an Atlantic City institution: Opened in 1912, both politicians and mob bosses have dined there. Now a continental steakhouse, its kitchen is overseen by Chef Jim Huntzinger. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, Huntzinger owned a restaurant in Bays Landing, New Jersey for ten years with his two brothers, who are also chefs. According to Huntzinger, "I'd been working at a casino, but I saw an ad for an executive chef from Knife & Fork owner Frank Dougherty, and I real- ized I'd had enough of hotels and casinos. It's an honor to be working at an institution like this." Huntzinger has now been at The Knife & Fork Inn for four years, cooking modern American cuisine. Despite Knife & Fork Inn's East Coast location, Huntzinger's dish—a crispy roast pork belly on a sweet potato cake topped with Jack Daniel's pan sauce made with dried cher- ries and a demi glaze with spice-roasted pecans—has a Southern flavor inspired by Jack Daniel's. "Jack has such a smooth flavor," Huntzinger explains. "It makes it not only an easy-drinking whiskey, but it also lends itself really well to food and flavor pairings. Be- cause of its great depth of flavor, you have a wide range of things you can pair it with. For instance, we feature it in the pork belly, but we also use it in a seasonal apple crumble with Jack Daniel's–scented whipped cream." JIM HUNTZINGER of Knife & Fork Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey PHOTO: FELICIA PERRETTI Jim Huntzinger, Executive Chef of Knife & Fork Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey. PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM Bone-in braised pork shanks with parsnips and a Jack Daniel's cocktail. Suzanne Tracht and Preech Narkthong, own- ers of Jar in Los Angeles, CA. SUZANNE TRACHT of Jar in Los Angeles, California

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