American comfort food classics are the specialty at Park Creek Kitchen, where customers rave about chef-owner Jeff Headley’s buttermilk fried chicken and braised short ribs.
Headley grew up in Georgia, where he spent time in the kitchen with his grandmother. He knew early on he’d make cooking a career.
After moving to Columbus with his parents, Headley chose Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, for his training. From there he worked in restaurants in New York and Atlanta before “coming home” to Columbus, where he helped revamp Tucci’s.
Headley graduated to his own restaurant three years ago.
Like his menu, his cooking style is no-nonsense, based on tradition and techniques that work. Not surprisingly, he isn’t much into cooking gadgets.
“There are a lot of people who play around with different gadgets,” he said. “But you can’t ever beat a chef’s knife.”
Robin Davis is the Columbus Dispatch’s food editor. To subscribe to her weekly newsletter, visit dispatch.com/food.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Note: This recipe is more of a formula.
Chicken breasts, drumsticks and thighs
Kosher salt for sprinkling
Combine the buttermilk, paprika and garlic powder in a shallow container. Add chicken. Turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Drain well.
Melt enough lard in a heavy, large pot to reach a depth of 3 or 4 inches. Heat to between 280 to 300 degrees.
Dip the chicken in flour, coating well. Add to the hot fat. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with kosher salt while still warm.