Who doesn’t love a good sandwich that is filled your faves? We took some time to chat with Chef Byron Talbott to talk about regionality when creating foods, the Sandwich Index and his 3 favorite ingredients to have on hand when making his next sandwich.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What was the moment when you realized that you wanted to be a chef?
CHEF BYRON TALBOTT: I was 17 when I made the decision.
AM: You’ve worked with some phenomenal restaurants and we know that you’re also a photographer, and food stylist, how important is it as a chef to have all of these talents inhouse?
CHEF BT: My kids love it as well as my wife for some time. It’s always a treat to have a chef in the home. I love cooking so it makes for a good symbiosis.
AM: Tell us about the sandwich index and what inspired the creation of this?
CHEF BT: Well the Sandwich Index is regionally inspired. These are all sandwiches from around the states: north, northeast, south, southwest – all that good stuff. It’s just a collection of all those ideas and I love cooking regionally, so it made a lot of sense.
AM: What is it about sandwiches that make you think of all of the kinds of creations that go into them? Do you just, enjoy these specific categories of food?
CHEF BT: Sandwiches are great at the Talbott home, it’s always a great day to have one when we’re at home. Today I’m working with a wrap, the Hatch Chili Avocado Turkey wrap – the Premium Carved Slow Roasted Turkey Breast from Hillshire Farm which is a great product. It has a very similar feel to fresh carved turkey and you can use it in salads and all kinds of good stuff. Today, I’m using it in a wrap. It’s a fun little creation that you can just layer and go. It’s a great inspiration behind this dish.
AM: What are 3 ingredients that we should always have on hand when we’re thinking of making versatile sandwiches – just to make sure that we don’t get into a sandwich rut? Especially for those that do like to eat them all the time.
CHEF BT: It’s always lettuce, tomatoes and probably avocados as the main kind of thing nowadays. I make sure to have those on hand! Because I am from New Mexico, Hatch Chilies are a sacred ingredient there so I tend to have spicy peppers at home, but that’s just me.
AM: Oh wow! What are 3 sandwiches that you would suggest that are perfect for the summertime?
CHEF BT: I would say that this wrap is a perfect one, The Italian Grinder – everyone loves a sub sandwich and the Cubano is fantastic because it has that warm crunchy feel and those are some of my choices. But also the BLT as I always love a really good BLT!
AM: You were speaking earlier about regionality being important to you. What are some of the other things that are important to you when you’re thinking of what inspires you to add to your Sandwich Index or when you’re just cooking in general?
CHEF BT: Regionality is a great way to approach cuisine. Right now, I’m assembling this sandwich which is inspired by the Southwest with great ingredients that I tend to cook with a lot like roasted Hatch Chilies which are beautifully peeled and you can layer onto it, you have the Premium Slow Roasted Carved Turkey which is always a great product to work with and it’s just about having those ingredients for a really good sandwich.
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