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Industry stories, served hot and unfiltered

In this two-part series, we visit some of Boise’s iconic kitchens to ask industry folks what items they can’t live without.


Dan Ansotegui holding choricero peppers at Ansots in Downtown Boise, Idaho

Dan Ansotegui’s choricero pepper sauce has been perfected for generations, originating in the basque country. Each pepper is locally sourced and once blended, strained and spiced, the rich sauce becomes their greatest weapon — a versatile marinade, soup base, and flavor enhancer. Most notably, it gives Ansots’ many different varieties of homemade chorizo their distinct color and kick.

“We constantly test it. Make adjustments. Grandma Epi made it the same way.”
Did you grow up watching her make chorizo?
“Even when I was very little, Grandma would give me a pan and tell me to go downstairs, grab a little bit of chorizo, no gloves, and bring it up so she could test it on her stove top.”

According to Dan, we all need some homemade choricero sauce in our kitchen. It makes everything better. And according to me, we all need a childhood where Grandma asks us to bring a handful of raw meat from the basement.


Chef Cal Elliott showing off his knife collection in the BOH over at Little Pearl.

For such an elevated menu full of fresh seafood you won’t see Chef Cal Elliott with an over-the-top knife setup. He tells us about a young kid in New York fresh into cooking who spent four grand on a knife kit that ended up lost in a cab hours later. Oof.

We walk back to the kitchen and he points to his station. For Cal, it’s about treating the tools you have with care. He pulls a large house knife from the magnetic strip next to his prep area. It’s worn but sharp.

“I’ve had this knife for two years and I’m actually really proud of how well it’s been cared for.”

As for leaving Brooklyn to open another successful restaurant in Boise during the height of a pandemic, Cal is hoping it pays off.

“I am super bullish about believing in Boise.”

Us too, Cal. No bull.


Veronica Valenzuela showing off her baking skills in the Just Eat Local prep kitchen.

Pastry chef Veronica Valenzuela knows her way around a mixer. She points to a large faded green machine in the corner. Between Veronica and this mixer they handle pastry for Red Feather, Bittercreek and Diablo & Sons. It’s primary job these days? Homemade pretzels.

“I’m used to a 60 quart, but this is only 25 quarts. This is the little guy.”
It’s not a little guy.

Caramel cools in a large Cambro — there’s cakes and cookies to make. Veronica rolls out a shortbread dough that’s been chilling in the fridge. It’s one of her Grandma’s recipes.

“She owned a bakery in Mexico. I still remember visiting and helping her when I was very little. It’s why I love baking.”


Jordan giving us a little sneak peak of her favorite toe, i mean shoes.

“So. Where do I start?” Jordan laughs.
I think you know where.
“Oh these?! Well, they were forty bucks from Fred Meyer. The plan was to get a nice pair of shoes eventually…but these are really comfortable.”

Leave it to these Skechers Fit Flex Non-Slip to help Jordan Hendricks cook on her feet all day. And she’ll need it. Five-course tasting menus, outdoor dining performances on KIN’s lawn, and catering events keep Jordan busy expanding her culinary expertise.

This week she debuts her first independently developed menu creation:

Cucumber gazpacho with pickled plums, lacto fermented turnips, green beans, finished with a basil oil and plum lime-ade gel.

Skechers approved.

Speaking of approval, go visit any local spot and give them your love because they do sure love you. Follow along for part II of this series and, in the mean time, tip generously. Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Sarah Masterson
Sarah Masterson
Website | + posts

Sarah Masterson is a writer and creative living and working in Boise. She spends her time developing stories, messaging strategies and campaigns for brands that are doing good things for the planet. Also, she loves great food and doing weird research. Ask about her comprehensive spreadsheet on where to eat the best wings in the state of Idaho.

Matthew Wordell
Matthew Wordell
VisionKit | + posts

Matthew Wordell is a creative entrepreneur and co-owner of Visionkit Studio. When he’s not busy juggling productions at the studio or mountain biking in the foothills, Matt commits his time to community building for organizations like Garden City Placemaking Fund, Surel's Place, and Treefort Music Fest.