In a world saturated with delicious packaged snack products, it's hard to find something a little more simple, down-to-earth, homemade. But that's exactly what John Padlo and his co-founders at Pure Provisions do: they set out to make wholesome, handmade jerky and other snacks for you to enjoy.
We chatted with him a little about how this all started.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Naples, FL.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
When I was a kid, it seemed like I wanted to be something different every few weeks. I’d say most consistently I wanted to be a pilot. I was always fascinated with airplanes.
Who taught you to cook? And, if the answer is different: how did your interest in food and cooking ignite?
My mom is a wonderful cook, and she learned a lot from my grandparents, who instilled in her the cultural significance of food. I was fortunate to grow up eating home-cooked meals every day — often Greek food — and I think that is where my initial interest in food came from. Having food and meal gatherings have been an important part of life from a young age.
So most of my cooking knowledge came from my mom, but I do love to experiment with new things and teach myself.
What were you doing before Pure Provisions? Had you wanted to start a business, or was the idea totally new/born of your travels across the US?
Before Pure Provisions I was working in technology in San Francisco. I always did want to start a business of my own since I was young, but Pure Provisions was born completely out of the travels and adventures of its founders. The idea for Pure Provisions came long after my desire to start a business.
Had you ever made jerky before you started experimenting with products for the company? What was that learning process like?
No! I had never made nor experimented with jerky before we had the idea for Pure Provisions. Learning that process was not easy — jerky is a very finicky food, and there are a lot of variables in the cooking process that need to be just right. The key was to learn these variables and get them to come together to produce an exceptional jerky. It started in the home kitchen, and then continued on to another journey of replicating the creations in a commercial setting.
How do you source your ingredients?
We source our ingredients carefully from people who take pride in what they do and put forth best-in-class products. We have been sourcing our turkey from the same farm since day one, and often work with people who are willing to customize what they do to better fit our jerky.
Pure provisions from Pure Provisions
Any other flavors of jerky or other products you’re thinking of developing down the line?
I can’t give away too many details here, but we are working on a couple of new flavors that will complement our current lineup well.
What’s your favorite local restaurant, café, or market?
How can I pick just one!? A favorite local restaurant is La Ciccia, café is The Mill, and market is the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market.
Do you listen to music or podcasts while you cook? If so, what/which?
Not too often, really. I prefer to cook with friends gathered over wine and conversation. I usually let someone else be in charge of music.
What are your favorite cookbooks?
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, America’s Test Kitchen.
What’s your favorite comfort meal to make?
Roast chicken and potatoes.
What’s your go-to dinner party meal to make?
Fish en papillote — it’s easy and you don’t need to spend too much time in the kitchen away from guests, but it’s delicious and crowd-pleasing. Then followed by a good dessert.
What’s your favorite drink of the moment?
We're going to ask you some quick-fire questions now—answer before you get a chance to think too hard about them. Dog or cat?
Tomato sauce or pesto?
Regular fries or waffle fries?
Chocolate or caramel?
Pizza or pasta?
Wine, beer, or cocktail?