Celebrated Chicago chef Paul Virant is known for his pickling and preservation techniques - they're staples of dishes at his area restaurants, Vie and Perennial-Virant. The techniques are also the subject of his new book The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves and Aigre-doux.
Virant's philosophy behind preservation is part neccessity - his restaurants pride themselves on using regionally grown produce, and need to feature the same dishes year-round even if the ingredients aren't always in season - and part uniqueness, as his pickled and preserved food has a certain flavor that sets it apart from similar restaurant fare.
In writing The Preservation Kitchen, Virant hopes to share his technique with all cooks of all skill levels - it's written in such a way that everyone from the kitchen novice to the professional chef can learn about the art of preservation and pickling - as well as make dishes that are served in his restaurants.
Virant joins Afternoon Shift Wednesday in the 3 p.m. hour to discuss his love of cooking, his restaurant work, and the pickling and preservation techniques and recipes featured in his book.