Thursday, several of us raved about the pork belly at Restaurant Eve. This morning at the Arlington farmers market, I was chatting about this with the folks at Polyface because I saw that they had fresh pork belly. Turns out that they supply Restaurant Eve, as well as a number of other restaurants that consistently get high marks on this board. Now, I fully intend to reproduce the dish at home.
I have always been a proponent of the theory that a chef or cook is only as good as the quality of his or her ingredients. In my opinion, it is seeking out quality ingredients that makes cutting edge restaurants well, cutting edge. I have been buying pork, lamb and chicken almost exclusively from Polyface since the day they first showed up at the market simply because the meat is far superior to any I have had from Whole Foods or elsewhere.
It also helps to develop a relationship with your supplier whether you are a restaurant chef or a home cook. The Polyface people are always happy to talk and supply cooking tips. And always ask whether there is something a bit unusual that isnt out on the table. They keep the good stuff hidden in the truck. Today they also had fresh pork jowl. The more we ask for the unusual, the more they will bring us.