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Hog And Hominy

Hog And Hominy

Heritage - Sn 1/Ep 4Heritage - Sn 1/Ep 4

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In this episode of HERITAGE, we head down south to Memphis, Tennessee, where Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman are the chefs at Hog & Hominy, a concept devoted to honoring their Italian roots while embracing the flavors of classic Southern food.

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- [Voiceover] When we talk about food, like when we create food for us, for the staff, for everybody, there has to be a story behind or the food becomes fake. The heart, like the soul and the guts behind the dish it has to evokes some type of feeling from you and that's when food's real. - [Voiceover] We literally been best friends since sixth grade. Honestly like everyone said, you guys can't go into business together, it's going to ruin your friendship. And after that first year, I think it's made it stronger. And we said there's no way we're going to fail and I think we really believe, like this is what we were meant to do, is to make food. - Our whole objective was, let's find a small restaurant that we can do ourselves. And we can have a small staff, and let's start there. So when we first started, it was me and Andy and one guy. And then our fathers; my dad and Andy's dad would alternate every night expediting. - I learned to do this from my Michael's grandmother. - Maw Maw. - Maw Maw. That's why we call it Maw Maw's ravioli. How old do you think these trays are? - Ever since I could remember. - These trays came from Italy, Maw Maw. So they're at least 50 years old, I guarantee it. She said don't wash them, you'll mess them up, don't wash them. - These things never got washed. I mean these are things that she brought back from when she was over in Italy and gave them to dad. - Tradition is family, this is what they, this is where it started. She use to sit around the table with her cronies and make this stuff and kept the family together. Michael would come over and eat everything he could find that she would let him eat. We were training to do French classical fine-dining. When we went to Italy, it changed. You know, we couldn't really figure out what could put our finger on it and then all of the sudden we just remembered sitting around making raviolis and cappelettis, watching our grandmothers cook, and then it all made sense. - It really is like our therapy throughout the week and you get dialed in when making the pasta and everything, kind of slows down a little bit. - Italians have one thing in common; they think that whatever they're eating is better than everyone else's, right? So my family is better than his family, his family is better than my family, right. What we saw, is just this comfort zone and our food that his family and my family have created is unbelievable. - And then when they came up with the idea of opening a restaurant, we looked at him and said, "Are you crazy?" - Y'all are crazy. - And by the way, we also need to borrow some money. - Then we said, okay show us your menu. - The thing that got me the most was they said, we're going to serve guanciale, we both said, what the hell is guanciale. We didn't know. And then they said it's pork cheeks, I said you're going to serve pork in Memphis and we're not going to be a barbecue restaurant, are you kidding me? But they proven us wrong, every step of the way. - There's such a connection between Southern food and Italian food. - I think also too, we get into moods. Like sometimes it's all Southern. And sometimes it's all Italian. It's trying to recreate a moment we had in Italy or a flavor or a taste here in this atmosphere. In a sense, like all of our cooks and our chefs are suppose to be an extension of us. - We actually have a sous chef that left the restaurant and went to revitalize his family's farm in Arkansas. And what he's done with that farm and to get to that point has been amazing. It's like taking us and putting us in a farm. - This is a John Deere corn sheller from the 1900s. I don't know very many people that have one of these. Hickory king, it's an old school southern variety of corn. It was the original Moonshiner's corn, which means it has a whole lot of starch in it. So this is what we believe is the breed of corn that will give you the best tasting corn meal, grits, polenta and hominy. - Look at this, like how awesome this product is. And his is special because he worked in the kitchen with us and he thinks like a chef. You don't see that very often. - Future Hog & Hominy grits. - Let's do this. - So we mill our grains cold. This process preserves the nutrients and the oils and to preserve the flavor of the raw corn. So this is what it looks like once it's milled. We're going to sort it. So we can get new machinery but this is our trademark. The screens are fit for the right grind. - Look at that. - Hog & Hominy grits. Becoming a better cook and working for them helped this farm become what it is today. - When you get something like this and you cook a pot of grits, how perfect you're going to try to make this, they're going to really taste the difference. Should be a light bulb going off if we do our job right. - You know you look at a lot of restaurants and like, you have to look at every aspect of it. - It all helps to tell that story. - You have to find people who are willing to make 200 plates by ourself and excited about it. - So the restaurant's going to be after our grandmothers, so it's Catherine and Mary's. So we want to do some Tuscany's, some Sicilian, that's where they're from, so we wanted to play with that. - Okay cool. - So, legit, like that, that's going to be a plate. - Yep. - That's crazy. That's unbelievable. - So it usually takes me about 20 minutes on the wheel for one piece. - Not any one plate or any two plates will be the same and that's kind of cool. - For these plates that we're talking about, I use porcelain, there's no impurities in the clay so the glaze is going to come out really bright and clear. Handmade is handmade, but the quality is what's important. And quality and consistency in the work. How does that look? - That's really neat. - That's crazy. - You think it'd be possible if we just kind of put maybe the grandma's initials, think that would be pretty cool? - Yeah - Like just scratch it in? Yeah for sure. - No way, that's awesome. - Thank you so much. - Of course. - To have that in there, is like, it's a good sign, we're big on signs I think and that's pretty freaking cool. You kind of see the space come together. It's funny when you look at a plate and you think about the restaurant as fully completed, that's kind of cool. And then we just need like 200 more. - Easy. - There's an idea we want to share with Memphis. To us, it's special, like we feel it's missing in downtown Memphis and we want to do it. We have the NGY Co. Now and Hog and Porcellino's and working on our forth place right now, called Catherine and Mary's after our grandmothers. Our grandmothers never got to go into it originally but if they could see it now, you know, you get goosebumps thinking about it. That correlation of they're in there with you when your cooking. They're going to put some awesome like windows right in here and then right on the other side of this is the marquee. So the marquee is going to have Catherine and Mary's. Be pretty sweet. - Growing up, best time in our life, easily going to Maw Maw's on Sundays. Maw Maw would be stirring the gravy with the wooden spoon and you take a taste and run back outside, like that was so awesome. - Those memories, they're priceless. Without those memories, if they didn't do that, we wouldn't be here. - Definitely going to recreate those memories with our kids. I get nervous and scared being in here. I should be past this by now but I'm not. - I feel like if you're not, you know If you're not nervous or you're not scared, then it's not worth doing. - We told them, look, don't worry about it. Make good food, good service, the people will find you, they will eat. Put your heart and soul into it and you got it. - When I got married, I told my wife, I was like you know you're marrying Andy as well so it's just like, he couldn't say it to his wife because it's my cousin. - We fight over that station right there. Getting your hands in the dough, starting that whole process, that's so fun. - There's so many sentimental things for us with our grandmothers and then literally above there is where Dude Phillips blasted Elvis Presley on the radio. - I want it to feel just how it did 40 years ago, you know. - There's one time where I walked up to the table 32 and this guy, I walked up to him, I said how is everything and he just kind of shook his head, and I was like is everything alright, and looked at me and said, "Son, this is easily the second best raviolis "I ever had in my entire life." I said that's awesome, I said, "Is it your mom's ravioli is it better"? He said, "Nope". He said there's this lady, he use to make these raviolis and my mom would buy them from her. And then one time she made them for us and her name was Catherine Chioza. And I said, "Sir that's my grandmother and this is her recipe". And he literally started crying. We're pretty fortunate in the fact that we get to come into work everyday and do something that we truly love doing. - The only thing we could change, if they could still be here to taste the food just so we can hear what they, what they really thought, you know. - And that's where we're at right now, we just got to keep on working. - Yeah. - Hard. - Speaking of which, are we going to finish these raviolis? - Yeah. - Go back to work. - Somebody's got to do that, right? Always somebody.

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