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Q+A with Parlor Market’s Chef Matthew Kajdan, Jackson, Mississippi
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Q+A with Parlor Market’s Chef Matthew Kajdan, Jackson, Mississippi

Picture of Culture Trip
Updated: 29 November 2016
Chef Matthew Kajdan is the mastermind behind Parlor Market, an amazing restaurant that’s taken Jackson by storm. With its trendy clientele, historic location and dedication to locally sourced produce, it represents the epitome of cultural dining in Mississippi. After Parlor Market had made it to our list of the best restaurants in Jackson, we needed to speak to Chef Kajdan to find out more about him – and what he thinks about the local food scene.
Chef Matthew Kajdan | Courtesy Parlor Market
Chef Matthew Kajdan | Courtesy Parlor Market

Why did you pick Jackson as the location for Parlor Market?

Jackson is where we grew up, where we have lived our lives and started our families. It’s home.

What dish did you create that you were most proud of?

My favorite dish was also an accident! The dish is fried chicken livers with pimento cheese and watermelon barbecue. It was originally supposed to be pimento cheese tater tots and we could never get them to taste the way we wanted them. So, we just spread pimento cheese on the plate underneath them and they were a hit. It is the dish that is sold the most here – at lunch and at dinner.

Charcuterie Plate | Courtesy Parlor Market
Charcuterie Plate | Courtesy Parlor Market

What can we expect from Parlor Market in the near future?

We have taken over a space next to us in the building we occupy. We are going to turn it into a private dining space that will seat anywhere from 10 to 30 people. It will be a great complement to our event space that will hold about 150 people.

Courtesy Parlor Market
Courtesy Parlor Market

What’s one of the most memorable dishes you’ve ever had, and where did you have it?

My wife and I were married in Key West, Florida. The evening we were married, we ate a place called The Rooftop Café. It was awesome. One of the dishes we had was a mussel dish that was steamed in coconut milk. It has become one of my favorite flavor combos and I have made a spin-off of the dish multiple times since then.

Tartare | Courtesy Parlor Market
Tartare | Courtesy Parlor Market

When you have time to eat out, where is your favorite place to dine in Jackson?

Walker’s Drive In is one of my favorite restaurants. They have great seafood and inventive small plates. My wife and I frequent them on our date nights.

For the best drinks in Jackson, head to…

I hate to brag, but the best place for drinks in Jackson is Parlor Market! We have the best bar staff and the best cocktail program in the city. My FOH manager John Ingram knocks it out of the park on a daily basis. If I was to have a drink somewhere else, Fondren Public is the craft beer mecca in Jackson. It’s a hip spot where you can have a drink and play bocce if you want.

Raviolo | Courtesy Parlor Market
Raviolo | Courtesy Parlor Market

What’s your go-to place for local cuisine, and what would you order?

There is a restaurant outside of Jackson called Table 100 and it is also one of my favorites. They pride themselves in buying local. The chef is from Germany and his twists on Southern favorites are always a blast. I recently had a European head cheese there, which was amazing, and also a twist I had never tried before. Very unique!

An exciting new arrival to the local food scene?

There is a new barbecue restaurant a few miles away from our restaurant called The Pig & Pint. They are very inventive with classic barbecue dishes and their flavors are spot on. They also have a great selection of craft beers.

Pork Belly | Courtesy Parlor Market
Pork Belly | Courtesy Parlor Market

In Jackson, culture lovers need to…

If someone asked me what they needed to do in Jackson, I would tell them to explore the Blues Trail, go see one of numerous museums or check out the local arts scene. Jackson is full of creative people – musicians, artists, writers or chefs! Whatever you are into, you can find here in Jackson, Mississippi.

Parlor Market, 115 W Capitol St, Jackson, MS, USA, +1 601-360-0090