Chef Will Horowitz can make your backyard taste gourmet

Chef Will Horowitz of New York's Ducks Eatery broke the internet with a watermelon. His ersatz holiday roast, the improbable smoked watermelon ham had the food media agog again all last year

some impressed, some appalled, all astounded
by it's similarity (visually and olfactory, at least) to the ham off a pig. If this citrullus simulacrum was all you knew about him you'd be forgiven for accusing Horowitz in trafficking culinary hokum. He's been misunderstood before.

On "Salon Talks" with SalonTV's Manny Howard, the chef, and now author, opened up to about the attention he's gotten for putting duck tongues and goat necks and other marginalia at the center of the menu at the restaurant he co-owns, Ducks Eatery. In fact, he started receiving handwritten opprobrium from inflamed PETA types.

"We started, at a certain point, selling so many goats, I had this Gary Larson cartoon in my head of a bunch of neckless goat farms," Horowitz joked. "But we're constantly moving and we constantly have to switch up and constantly have to see what's next, what's going to be different. And a lot of that is curiosity but a lot is survival to be honest as a small business. And right now actually, the big focus for us has been vegetables."

Horowitz describes the kind of energy it takes to run a restaurant in the spotlight, what's important to him right now and how that's changed over time and why he wrote his first book, "Salt Smoke Time: Homesteading and Heritage Techniques for the Modern Kitchen.". It is part self-reliance manifesto and part food preservation DIY manual.

Watch the episode above to learn more about Horowitz's pivot away from meat, his focus on plants on the plate, and why he's a naturalist and explorer at heart. For more food-centric episodes, visit our "Salon Talks" Food playlist..

Cover image courtesy of Erin Kornfeld and Erica Leone

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