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Sip & Savor

August 25th, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jamie Zelko!

Our next summer birthday girl is Jamie Zelko, chef at The Ivy & James, located within the new Evelyn's Park.

Happy birthday! We're bringing you a Petite Sweets cupcake to celebrate. Favorite flavor?
Strawberry!

Favorite thing to do at the park when you're not at the restaurant?
I set up my office on the tables under the live oaks near the cafe, even in the heat. I like being outside and one with nature anywhere. The park is really isolated in Bellaire. There’s not a lot of heavy traffic, it's on the site of where Tea’s Nursery once was, the first business in Bellaire that opened a century ago. Bellaire is like a city within a city.

How does your restaurant concept fit the surroundings?
It’s a unique green space and I’m a resourceful, sustainable chef. We're open for breakfast, lunch and twilight and it’s order at the counter, so we get be a part of someone’s everyday. Food, family, nature: That’s what’s we’re all about. I want what we’re doing to be more of a permanent fixture instead of a driving trend. What we’re doing is very harmonious with the park conservancy.

What menu items are the most popular?
Shrimp and grits with soy agave nectar. Cap'n Crunch fried chicken. And our happy hour is great - we have biodynamic wines on tap and some great beers.

Speaking of sustainability, you’re the founder of the nonprofit Heights Honey Bee Project. How’s it going?
I’m happy to say we have two master beekeepers working on it full time. These are native wild Texas bees - they can go anywhere. But they choose to stay with us.

Show you're binging on right now.
Game of Thrones! I actually don’t watch any cooking shows.

How do you relax?
Inferno hot pilates.

How did you celebrate your birthday this year?
We went to bingo in the Heights at the Czech Community Center. It’s BYOB. It was so fun! It was a whole week of my birthday this year. We also ate at Hugo’s and went to see Wonder Woman with my parents. 

How many candles did you blow out?
I only blew out 1. I was supposed to blow out 37.

Most exciting person you've cooked for.
At The Lancaster Hotel I cooked for a lot of people who were performing downtown like Carol Burnett, Tony Bennett, Paul Newman, Anthony Bourdain, Wynonna Judd and Alice Waters. A few of them I didn’t even know were there until later!

Confession time. Secret low brow food you eat on off hours?
Shipley’s at midnight, when they’re freshly made!

Read our interviews with all the past Birthday Girls here. Want to be featured in Tidbits on your birthday? Tell us why at submissions-houston@gotidbits.com.

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