ALL POSTS Food & Drink Interviews POP-IN@Nordstrom

Chef Kati Lauffer on Food Writing, Deli Diligence and Career-Commencing Meals | Pop-In@Nordstrom Eats

Over the monthlong course of Pop-In@Nordstrom Eats–the current, culinary edition of our always-changing Pop-In Shop–we’ll be bringing you interviews and recipes from some of the best and brightest chefs around. This series is in participation with our own powerhouse restaurants division as well as Cherry Bombe magazine, the beautiful publication focused on women and food. 


Chef Kati Lauffer is a boss, frankly, ruling all Nordstrom restaurants in the western United States and Canada for the past eight years. In a giving mood, she hooked us up with two exclusive recipes: a smoky beet and lentil salad and perfect Korean-style tacos. We are grateful.

In case you ever meet her and want to buy her a gift to say thanks, she mentioned to us that she enjoys food made from pigs and ducks–especially when accompanied by a really good pinot noir.

Korean Style Red Chili Pork Tacos recipe from Nordstrom with gochujang sriracha, pickled radishes and miso mayo. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Tacos prepared and photographed by blogstar Chef Jeff, who recommends pairing with a Rent Check Cocktail.

Shop: Pop-In@Nordstrom Eats

Nordstrom blogs: If you were stranded on a desert island—a desert island which happened to have knives, fire, a stove, pots, pans, etc.—what would be the five most essential ingredients you’d want with you?
Katie Lauffer: Salt, butter, garlic, eggs and vinegar.

If you could cook for any person living or dead, who would it be?
The great writer Jim Harrison. Sadly, his wife just passed. I would like to cook him a meal I know he would enjoy: canard à la presse.

Which culinary specialty from your region do you love the most? What’s another one that you think most outsiders don’t know about?
Halibut fish and chips (get the Nordstrom Grill recipe). The weekly Fresh Sheets our chefs at Nordstrom use to feature local and seasonal ingredients.

kaleWhat’s your single favorite vegetable?
Brussels sprouts.

Michigan cherries.


Sweet (food, not ingredient)?
Ice cream.

Savory (food, not ingredient)?

How about your “I’m having a bad day, I deserve this” go-to comfort food?
Red wine.

beetsPlease detail for us the best meal you’ve ever had and what you loved about it.
The first dinner I had at Restaurant Daniel in NYC, circa 1999. It was just before I entered culinary school. I remember I ate sea bass en papillote, braised short ribs with celery duo. The meal defined my goals. And solidified where I wanted to begin my culinary career.

What inspired you to become a chef?
Recognizing and learning about amazing ingredients at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI.

And now it’s time for the recipes…

(Serves 4)

For the Herb Beet Vinaigrette:
¼ cup liquid from Olympia Provisions pickled beets [ed. note: available in-store]
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette Preparation:
1. In a small bowl whisk together drained beet juice, apple cider vinegar and mustard.
2. While still whisking, add olive oil in a slow stream until well blended. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Smoky Beluga Lentils:
¾ cup beluga lentils
3 cups water
1 ½ tablespoons smoked salt
¼ medium yellow onion, peeled, root intact
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4 tablespoons Herb Beet Vinaigrette

Smokey Beluga Lentil Preparation:
1. Rinse lentils and add to small pot with water, onion, garlic and 1 tablespoon of smoked salt.
2. Bring to a light simmer, cover and cook until tender but not falling apart.
3. Drain lentils and add remaining ½ tablespoon of smoked salt and vinaigrette. Toss until lentils are evenly coated then set aside.

For the Salad:
1 large bunch lacinato kale, chiffonade (6 cups loosely packed)
1 jar Olympia Provisions pickled beets (reserve liquid for vinaigrette)
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ounce Simple & Crisp dried orange crisps

Salad Assembly:
1. In a large bowl add ⅓ cup of vinaigrette; swirl to coat the bottom of the bowl then add lentils, kale and drained beets.
2. Lightly toss to evenly coat the ingredients. Then shake the bowl so the heavier ingredients fall to the bottom. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
3. Present in a chilled serving bowl, stacking in a crisscross pattern to create height in the center, and arrange the beets evenly around the salad. Break the orange crisps into bite-size pieces and sprinkle over the top of the salad.

Note: Vinaigrette and lentils can be made up to one day in advance. Store refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Korean Style Red Chili Pork Tacos recipe from Nordstrom with gochujang sriracha, pickled radishes and miso mayo. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Fog Linen work tray and kitchen towel | Biobu by Ekobo plate

(makes 8 tacos)

Red Chili Pork
⅓ cup Mixed Made gochujang sriracha
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced
¼ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 pound pork shoulder, sliced very thin
2 teaspoons canola oil

1. In a large bowl whisk together gochujang sriracha, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and onion until evenly combined.
2. Add pork and mix until evenly coated with sauce then cover and place into the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
3. Place canola oil in large sauté pan over high heat.
4. Once pan is hot add pork in an even layer across the pan. Cook without stirring until pork starts to caramelize on the bottom, approximately 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high, stir pork and cook until pork is cooked through and sauce darkens a shade, approximately 5-6 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for tacos.

Simple Miso Mayonnaise
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Ohsawa organic barley miso

Whisk together in a small bowl until combined and set aside.

Taco Ingredients:
16 corn tortillas
4 tablespoons Mixed Made gochujang sriracha
1 jar McVicker Pickles watermelon radishes [ed. note: available in-store]
1 cup green cabbage, finely shredded
½ cup cilantro leaves

Taco Assembly:
1. Mist water between pairs of tortillas, stacking 2 per taco for 8 total stacks. Place them onto a lightly oiled griddle or pan over medium-high heat. Flip over when crispy and lightly browned. Remove and cover with a towel. Repeat for all 8 pairs.
2. Place the cooked pork evenly into the 8 tacos. Top with the shredded green cabbage.
3. Dress each taco with the gochujang sriracha sauce and miso mayonnaise. Garnish the tacos with pickled watermelon radish slices and cilantro leaves.

Note: Pork can be made ahead and cooled up to one day in advance. Mayonnaise can be made up to three days in advance. Store both refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Korean Style Red Chili Pork Tacos recipe from Nordstrom with gochujang sriracha, pickled radishes and miso mayo. Photo by Jeff Powell. Korean Style Red Chili Pork Tacos recipe from Nordstrom with gochujang sriracha, pickled radishes and miso mayo. Photo by Jeff Powell.