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Meet the Eater Young Guns Semi-Finalists: Tyler Malek

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Tyler Malek
Tyler Malek
Photo: Leela Cyd

Now that the names of the 50 semifinalists for the 2013 Eater Young Guns have been revealed, it's time to say hello to the candidates. Over the next month and a half, readers will get the chance to meet many of these future leaders through videos, interviews, testimonials from their fans and bosses, and snippets from the Young Gun Committee deliberations. First up is Tyler Malek, head ice cream maker at Portland's white hot ice cream shop Salt & Straw.

Tyler and his cousin Kim Malek founded Salt & Straw in 2011, when it was just a small cart. Since then they have gone brick and mortar — this was always the plan — with two locations in Portland and a third opening this summer. They've created over 100 flavors of ice cream, all made from local ingredients, almost all a little eccentric or wacky.

Here's Travel Channel host, worldly food man, and Young Guns Committee member Andrew Zimmern with more:

"Oh my God. This is such a cool story. Here are two cousins, a boy and a girl. They start out with a cart. Not a food truck, a fucking cart. They would make gallons of ice cream at night in their apartment and then go out and sell it the next day. Now they have stores. They have production deals with big companies, they supply all the good restaurants, and they have some brilliant, brilliant ice cream. The flavors are extraordinary without being pretentious.

Sometimes you go to these scoop shops and I'm not going to be able to get my kid tobacco/menthol ice cream. And you don't really want to eat a whole scoop of that, you want a taste of that. But they do pomegranate/honey/beet ice cream. They do an ice cream where they use bone marrow to enrich the butter fat and they puree it with bourbon-infused smoked cherries. And I sat there and thought, "bone marrow and ice cream, uh uh." But the way they rendered it, strained it—you needed the marrow to cut through the bourbon and the smoked cherries. It was out of sight.

There's a half hour line, 24/7/365 and they're walking around handing out free scoops. The owners are always there, and every ingredient just reeks of Portland. They're very engaged in the DIY vibe that is that city—everything they use is local. They really are extraordinary. I think one of the things that separates Young Guns from the rest of the pack is that it takes more than just being great.

· All Eater Young Guns Coverage [~E~]
· Salt & Straw [Official Site]

Salt & Straw

2035 NE Alberta St., Portland, OR

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