The Alchemist: Jori Jayne Emde, Producer at Lady Jayne’s Alchemy

By Laura Silverman / Photography By George Billard | May 15, 2017
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Owner of Lady Jayne's Alchemy stands amongst her vinegar and condiment creations.
Emde turns turn the kitchen’s left over wines and vegetable scraps, as well as unsold produce from neighboring farms into vinegars, sauces, and condiments.

There is a long and storied folk tradition of women—witches, healers, midwives—who use time-honored practices and ancient herbal remedies to assuage everything from heartache to hives. Jori Jayne Emde has taken up this mantle and, through a combination of study, intuition and experimentation, crafts all manner of elixirs, tonics and bespoke potions in her barn in Old Chatham, NY.

Alongside her husband, award-winning chef Zakary Pelaccio, she decamped from New York City to open Fish & Game, the Hudson restaurant known for its sophisticated renderings of ingredients from local farms, forests and fields. Jori relies on a variety of fermentation and preservation techniques to turn the kitchen’s left over wines and vegetable scraps—as well as the unsightly produce neighboring farms can’t sell to conventional operations—into umami-rich vinegars, sauces and condiments.

“Getting the conversation moving about creative ways to repurpose waste is a big step,” she says, “but one that I see coming around the corner.” Her many wooden barrels filled with fermenting chilies, funky fish sauces and wild vinegars are a powerful example that Jori’s unique brand of practical magic is already well under way.


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