You know what? I don't really want to shop in a cold, cavernous space where I can get tires and wine and nylon fleece sweaters and lamb chops and a pallet of toothpaste, all in one fell swoop. That is not my idea of a good time. Nor does it meet my needs in any way, shape or form. I like supporting the little guy. I like going to a store where they know me by name. And I love a more European approach to shopping, where I can pop in for high quality products that meet my every day needs and make me feel good inside and out. And fortunately for me, I have Provenance Food and Wine right around the corner. And get this - they're bringing back this concept that I'm just crazy about, it's called customer service - ever hear of it?
This store is one of the many things I'm grateful for in my day to day life. To be able to get local, organic milk and cheese, artisanal ice cream when I'm in the mood, pasture raised beef, great wine and beer, seven days a week, it just makes my life better. So, thank you Tracy Kellner...
WHO Tracy Kellner is the owner of Provenance Food & Wine, an everyday grocery that focuses on small batch and handmade foods, wines, beers and spirits using sustainable methods wherever possible. Tracy spent close to ten years working front of the house positions in restaurants, where she learned about the synergy of food and wine and how to treat guests to a great experience. After a brief stint in non-profit, and eight years in the corporate world, she left to open Provenance Food & Wine in 2006. Provenance has two Chicago locations: Logan Square and Lincoln Square.
THE GIFT We recently brought in some of the O Olive Oils and Vinegars at the store. The oils are crushed with fruit so the flavors are really intense - there is actually some kind of chemical reaction that occurs when the olives and fruit are crushed together, as opposed to adding the ‘flavoring’ to the oil. They are great gifts that taste delicious in beautiful packaging. You can make a super-easy appetizer with them by spreading fresh goat cheese or ricotta onto toast or crackers, then drizzling with the oils and a touch of good sea salt. The jalapeno lime is my favorite – you get the essence of the jalapeno without the heat. It’s great in guacamole. The O line is made by a small producer in California who use high quality fruit from orchards using sustainable practices. They're a great gift for people who like to cook but also who don’t like or know how to cook because they're full of great flavor and simply need to be drizzled on the finished product and viola!
WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Honestly, most of my inspiration these days comes from other small business owners, whose energy and creativity I thrive on!
GO-TO DISH WHEN COOKING FOR YOURSELF? Sustainably-fished tuna in olive oil, kalamata olives, shallot confit and lemon zest, tossed with pasta. Yes, in a pinch it all comes from a jar, but it’s delicious and a dish inspired by friend and chef Kari Dillon.