“Some people say I’m the ‘fermentation guy,’ but really I’m just on a quest to experience and manipulate flavors, and fermentation is something that just came out of me,” explains Jason White. A few years ago, thanks to his Instagram photos, White began getting noticed for his unique food fermentation projects. The attention brought opportunity, including collaborations with former French Laundry chef Ryan Poli, and eventually led him to Executive Chef Kevin Fink’s new restaurant Emmer & Rye.
At the new Rainey Street outpost, White tends to the larder, a treasure trove of grains and vegetables undergoing transformation. Here, Sonora wheat berries will be converted into malt vinegar and eventually infused in potatoes for a variation of fish and chips, and little green tomatoes from HausBar Farms will be preserved for a brine. “I’m constantly being inspired because I can ferment a thousand things,” White says. “But what makes it important to me is the whole process, how they were grown and how they’re utilized.”