Chef Mary Paff
The chef at Anise selects Jazzy’s BBQ
Hot plate: Pulled pork
Interview by: Sarah Morin
Why is this the best barbecue in town?
When you come in here, you’re literally standing there and watching the process. You watch them cut the meat they serve you. You see the heart and soul that goes into it… but then you go back to the flavor. They served the best barbecue sauce because it’s a southern mustard-based sauce you usually don’t find. It’s one-of-a-kind Carolina barbecue, unlike the ketchup-based sweet sauce you find everywhere.
How long have you been coming here, and how did you find out about it?
Four years ago, and I have been coming with friends ever since because I live close by. I always get the same thing, or get a couple of things to share with my friends. It’s similar to the style of eating at Anise—it’s a sharing style restaurant.
How did you get into culinary?
My family really brought me into cooking. I cooked a lot at home with my mom and grandma. We did catering for close friends and the church, convincing everyone we had bought it all from a store.
How did you get involved with your current restaurant?
I met the owner, Sing, at the previous restaurant we worked at together. Sing called me one day and offered me a job at Anise. She insisted that she wouldn’t take no for an answer. She’s a very hands-on boss, which is why I knew I’d enjoy working with her. We travel together and try out different restaurants in the process calling it our “research and development.”
How would you describe the cuisine at your restaurant?
It’s global, and heavily Asian inspired. I can do what I want in the kitchen.
What’s one dish I have to try?
The pork ramen bowl, no doubt. All of the staff and customers will tell you it’s their favorite dish. It’s not pho, but it is authentic, rich pork broth served over egg noodles, with cured and deep friend pork belly that softens up in the broth, giving it immense flavor.
What cooking competition show would you most enjoy competing in?
Chopped or Cutthroat Kitchen, where they not only tell you what your using, but they switch ingredients and give you different obstacles. It would be a huge challenge.
What’s one food you won’t eat?
I’ll try everything at least once, but not cooked egg yokes or deviled eggs. I try them when I serve them, but I don’t like the texture.
What’s one ingredient you can’t live without in your kitchen?
Fresh and local vegetables. There is a difference in the taste and flavor.
Jazzy’s BBQ is located at 5703 W. Water Ave., Tampa, FL 33634. For more information, call (813) 243-8872 or visit www.JazzysBBQTampaFL.com.