There’s no doubt that Charlie Jones, a co-founder of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, is excited to celebrate the tenth anniversary this month of what has become one of the country’s premier music fests. But in his kitchen he beams with pride about accomplishments of a different sort: the potatoes, peppers, and eggs he’s plucked fresh from his backyard. When the 42-year-old father of two isn’t busy promoting Lollapalooza or the House of Blues for the event production company C3 Presents, he’s at home making his own paprika or tweaking his recipe for barbecue sauce. “This is one of my favorite things to do,” says the College Station native, who grew up helping his mother prepare meals. Jones is channeling that passion into yet another highly anticipated happening, the first Austin Food and Wine Festival, which debuts in April.
About the Items on Charlie Jones’s Kitchen Counter
• I’m a little ADD and I tend to do too much, so I set different timers to remind me of what’s cooking. I would have burned a lot of stuff if I didn’t have those.
• This past April we began to expand Lollapalooza. The very first international concert was in Chile, and I picked this up in the airport there.
• I just used my great-grandmother’s recipe for her potato salad. I think her secret was adding pickle juice. I call it an antique potato salad.
• I’m very particular about pepper mills, and this one, which we found in a kitchen store in Rome, gives a really fine grind. It’s great for finishing things off.
• My favorite chef is Thomas Keller. There’s a textbook component to his cookbooks, like Ad Hoc, and I always learn something from him. I reference all of these books a lot.
• I’m in my second year of preserving things from my garden. By next year I’ll have perfected it.
• My daughter Stevie made that. She’s an artist!
• We’ve got seven heritage breed chickens, and my wife or I or the girls are out there every day collecting eggs.
• You don’t want to use olive oil or butter when you’re going to sear something at high heat because it burns. Grapeseed oil has a higher flash point.
• I’m a label fanatic, and I always use my Sharpie marker. And the painter’s tape doesn’t leave a residue.
• My wife, Melanie, loves very spicy things. I take our cayenne and tabasco chiles, dry them, and then crush them. They’re really hot.