Sarah Lipton

Hank & Sylvie's

A Michigan native, Sarah Lipton developed a taste for the Idaho mountains during childhood trips to Sun Valley. After studying restaurant management and earning a degree from The French Pastry School in Chicago, Sarah honed her skills as pastry chef at top restaurants such as North Pond in Chicago and The Little Nell in Aspen. In 2012, she opened her first restaurant - Della MANO - in Ketchum. She now puts her skills and passion for the art of pastry creation to work at Hank & Sylvie's, her bakery and floral shop with locations in Ketchum and Hailey. 

Here’s what Sarah said when asked about her personal relationship to food:

When did you realize that you wanted to be a chef?
I realized in high school that all I wanted to do was cook.

Did anyone in particular inspire your interest in preparing food?
I would say my mom and my grandma were the biggest inspirations.

What’s your definition of “good food”?
In my opinion ‘good food’ is not only thoughtfully paired and prepared to make a delicious meal or dish but also thoughtfully grown and sourced.

Who is your food hero?
My pastry school bread professor, John Kraus.

What’s your favorite food to cook?
This answer changes all the time, currently given the heat wave we are experiencing I would say ice cream is at the top of the list.

How do you feel about organic?
I feel that if you purchase your food from the grocery store then it is important to buy organic.  If you are buying locally from the farmers market or farm stands, it is not as important for the food to have an organic certification, just for you to know that the farm utilizes organic farmingpractices. The USDA organic certification process is very cost prohibitive for smaller ranchers and farmers, I feel like not many people realize that.

Are you concerned about GMOs? If so, why?
Of course! If regular {insert one of many GMO products here} was good enough for the population 40 years ago, why isn’t it good enough for the population now??  The tricky thing is, it is good enough for the population now, but the commodity farm business is built on money (mostly on the desire for more of it) and those businesses have lots of power both politically and socially, so they are able to say things like, “Oh hey, Mr. Big Wig Political Guy, we want to genetically change the way we grow all of our corn so each plant makes triple the number of ears, if you blindly go along with us we will slip you a couple of bucks on the back end.”

What’s your end goal or what impact do you hope to have in terms of food?
I am only one person, I can buy local, eat local, support organic sustainable farmers and ranchers but I cannot impact the food system alone.  I can only hope that when people eat my food they can taste the difference and want to recreate it themselves at home.

What is your biggest wish for food system change?
I would love for the food system as a whole to focus more on small local farms and less on massive commercial growers and also to shift toward seasonal eating instead of eating whatever you want because it can be grow halfway around the world in the wintertime.

What change would you like to see in the Wood River Valley in terms of food? 
Broader access to local food for everyone; leaps and bounds have been made, but it is not enough.  I think every restaurant, school, grocery store and food establishment should be serving/selling as much seasonal local food as possible as opposed to commodity-style, mass-produced food. There is plenty of local food to go around but there needs to be a way for everyone to recognize the value in eating local. Once that happens, the local food system will have more demand and will have the ability to grow to accommodate the demand helping to sustain the local food culture.

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