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Mark Bitterman, founder of The Selmelier's Association is committed to exploring, promoting, and celebrating gourmet finishing salts from around the world. If you love food, excitement, mystery, and beauty all wrapped up in one infinitely complex crystal, this is the place for you. The selmelier is to salt what the sommelier is to wine, providing information and expertise that helps diners, chefs, and retailers to get the best possible results from their food, restaurants, and stores.
A leading expert on artisan-made salt, chocolate, and cocktail bitters, Mark has clientele ranging from top chefs to food manufacturers to home cooks. Mark leads salt-inspired dinners at many celebrated restaurants and lectures at culinary schools such as the French Culinary Institute, the Institute of Culinary Education, and Le Cordon Bleu. Mark has been developing recipes and consulting with various chefs, restaurants, and culinary institutions since 2006. As a consultant and selmelier, Mark provides insight and expertise that helps chefs and retailers get the best possible results from their food, restaurants, and stores.
For personal insight on finishing salt, professional development and training opportunities with Mark, or if you are interested in having Mark speak at your next event, please contact him here.
See Mark's upcoming events at The Meadow here.
Mark has been recognized as a Local Food Hero by Cooking Light and a Tastemaker in Food & Wine. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, O, GQ, Rachael Ray, Wine Spectator, Esquire, and on The Splendid Table, All Things Considered, Bizarre Foods, CBS News, ABC News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, the History Channel, and more. For inquiries, please contact Mark here.
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
Andrew Zimmern visits Portland and discovers The Meadow and our Sal de Gusano. Also known as gusano rojo or chinicuil, gusano is a larva that feeds on maguey and agave plants. It is great as an all-purpose seasoning salt for proteins like eggs and steak. Also try rimming a sundae cup with Sal de Gusano to serve tuna ceviche.
Portlandia and GQ at The Meadow
Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein taste some salt and chocolate with Mark Bitterman.
The Amateur Gourmet
The first salt that I tried was perhaps the most shocking: Kala Namak from India. The flavor is immediately intense–reminiscent of Indian food or cumin–and I’ll admit, I thought it was some kind of spice blend when I first tried it. But reading about it online, I discovered that the aroma occurs naturally because of its sulfur content. Wikipedia likens it to “rotten eggs” which isn’t particularly appealing; I’d liken it more to how cumin smells a little bit like body odor? But in a good sort of way?
Specialty Food Magazine
“In a time of ingredient-driven cuisine, people are looking for quality ingredients that make their dishes pop. They are turning to artisan salts, rediscovering something authentic and real that has been overlooked for years,” says selmelier Mark Bitterman, author of Salted, A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral and owner of The Meadow, a specialty shop of salts, chocolates, flowers and bitters with locations in Portland, Ore., and New York. “The resurgence of artisan salts is no longer subtle; it is becoming mind-blowing.”
Food and Wine
What is salt? Chemists would say it’s sodium chloride, but why does it come in so many shapes and sizes? Mark Bitterman’s salt obsession began in France more than 25 years ago, when he met Michelin-starred chefs who traveled with their own precious supply. Along with his wife, Jennifer, Bitterman now owns a store called The Meadow, with branches in Portland, OR, and New York City that sell salts from all over the world. Many are tracked down by Bitterman or custom-made, like his house fleur de sel.
Visiting The Meadow was an unexpected and rather mind blowing treat. I hadn’t heard of the artisanal salt, bitters, chocolate, flower and vermouth store before — clearly due to a lack of reading on my part because after visiting I spent some time on the Internet researching this wondrous place and its well-earned reputation for amazing products. When I walked into this spot I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of salts and dark chocolates lining the walls — we’re talking hundreds of examples of each.
We are often quick to complain long and loud about bad customer service experiences. But what about great experiences? Sometimes a company just goes above and beyond in service — whether that is seen in correcting a mistake, offering special education and resources to customers, or just being all-round nice people. What are your stories of amazing customer service from kitchen shops and brands? Other kitchen shops simply go above and beyond in education and resources for their customers. Mark Bitterman loves to teach customers about salt at his shop in Portland.
The Recipe Club
I wrote Salted because I was frustrated—or maybe appalled is the better word. There was not a single book out there that seriously examined the different salts produced by different people around the world. Salt is the first ingredient, the most universal ingredient, the most powerful ingredient. For ten millennia salt has been made by virtually every society in every corner of the globe, where it reigned supreme over entire cultures. Every salt was a unique reflection of the world’s diverse peoples.
The Splendid Table
Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone. This week we talk with Mark Bitterman author of Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes.
Mark collaborates with celebrated chefs around the country and lectures at culinary schools such as the French Culinary Institute, the Institute of Culinary Education, and Le Cordon Bleu. Mark has been recognized as a Local Food Hero by Cooking Light and a Tastemaker in Food & Wine. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, O, GQ, Rachael Ray, Wine Spectator, Esquire, and on The Splendid Table, All Things Considered, Bizarre Foods, CBS News, ABC News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, the History Channel, and more.
In addition to winning the James Beard Award in 2011 for Scholarship and Reference, Salted is also a finalist in two categories for the International Association for Culinary Professionals awards.