For Clinton resident and chef Trap Landry, some of the best things in life need a little time.
In the case of food, some of the best bites need time to ferment.
Landry, who works for Britt’s Pickles as an operations manager and “chief fermentation officer,” has taken the fermenting skills he’s mastered at the popular pickle company and started his own live culture foods restaurant venture, Anthes Ferments. It’s different from any restaurant found on Whidbey, and maybe even the country, Landry says.
“What we’re doing here is a restaurant based on fermenting, preserving, curing and pickling,” Landry said. “We use a natural fermentation process and don’t use vinegar for most of our fermentation, which is more common. Fermenting with vinegar makes foods lose a lot of its vitamin C and enzymes and kills off healthy bacteria.”
Landry and his wife, Sonya Tsuchigane, opened Anthes Ferments in downtown Langley last month. The restaurant, which is located on Second Street near the intersection of Anthes Avenue, serves dishes from a variety of global cuisines for lunch and dinner.
The restaurant is located in the building that used to house Kalakala.
Each dish at Anthes Ferments uses at least one fermented element. Landry’s varied background as a chef and his use of the fermenting process means the menu is diverse, with dishes covering Japanese, Korean, German and American cuisines. The menu also includes pickled appetizers and drinks that utilize the fermentation process, such as sake, kombucha and beer. The building’s backyard patio is also utilized, as the proprietors have set up a yakitori grill and welcome local music acts to the restaurant.
The unique nature of the menu has captured the imagination of some diners. In the case of Langley residents Lisa and John Butters, it’s brought them back on an almost daily basis since its doors opened. The unique menu is partly what Landry was aiming for to rake in new business, but he wanted the menu’s accessibility to show through.
“I really respect their ambitious menu,” Lisa Butters said. “It’s a cool niche nobody has really tapped into. Besides the health benefits to fermented foods, the way they’ve curated the menu makes everything so complementary to each other.”
In addition to running a restaurant, Landry plans to use the space for educational purposes as well. Having picked up master fermenting skills as the “chief fermentation officer” at Britt’s Pickles for three years, Landry wants to share his knowledge through fermenting workshops in the future. To him, fermenting foods is a skill that isn’t as popular as it should be, and he’d like to pass on the health benefits of live culture foods. If you ask him, he’ll say the Japanese and Korean chefs have it all figured out, as key dishes and ingredients use fermentation: anything made with soy sauce or koji in Japanese food, and the ubiquitous kimchi in Korean.
Now he’s hoping to bring that tradition into the average American kitchen.
Landry says fermenting workshops are slated for the fall.
“I think people on Whidbey can get on board with fermented foods, if they haven’t already,” Landry said. “The slow food movement is popular here. When it comes to fermented foods, it doesn’t get much slower.”