Liz Cowan | Three Little Figs
Chef + Owner of Three Little Figs, Liz Cowan founded her artisan jam company after noticing a gap in the market for domestically produced cheese + charcuterie accompaniments. Having worked as a jet-setting food stylist, Liz brings her worldly tastes to each of her products in an act of culinary alchemy.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
I am the ultimate food lover and also a great hostess. I was always throwing rather elaborate dinner parties and noticed that there was definitely a lack of domestically produced accompaniments for cheese and charcuterie boards. I figured I was not the only one who wished they existed, and of that, Three Little Figs was born.
Tell us about your products.
At Three Little Figs we specialize in savory jams, specifically made to pair with cheese and meat. We use organic produce from small sustainable farms and the best quality ingredients available. We use traditional methods of preserving in small batches but strive to give each jam a modern flavor profile.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Craftsman” Mean To You?
Being a craftsman means being quality obsessed and perhaps a little insane. It means caring deeply about where your food comes from and how it’s made. We handcraft all of our products every step of the way; from hand cutting our fruits to hand labeling our jars.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
Pinkletons Caramel Corn. OMG can I tear through a bag of that!
What Drew You To Food?
I grew up in a foodie family so it has always been an obsession of mine.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Mostly from my travels, or from the fruits themselves. If a farmer has a particularly good crop, I think of what I can do with it.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We are so excited about the nicer weather so summer is our inspiration. We are working on Lemon and Fennel Pickled Watermelon Rind, Watermelon and Sriracha Pepper Jelly, and a Plum Fig and Cherry Mostarda.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
My favorite has always been our Tomato Tapas but I’m pretty blown away by the new creations.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
All varieties of chiles.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Ruth Reichl, though the idea of that is slightly terrifying.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other craftsmen?
Stay true to your vision and NEVER take shortcuts.
What Other Local Food Craftsmen or Chefs Do You Admire?
As far as local craftsmen and chefs go I could list so many. Portland is a town full of inventive, creative geniuses who take food very seriously. One of my favorites is Naomi Pomeroy of Beast. I love the fact that she is at the top of her game with no formal training. I also appreciate her respect for ingredients. With an ever changing menu nose to tail cooking, keeping things local and seasonality are key.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Eggs Benedict or my mom’s Shrimp Rice Casserole
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
I was lucky enough to dine at el Bulli before it closed. Ferran Adria is a genius who blew my mind and changed what I thought I knew about food.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I love to garden, forage and explore.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
Lil Wayne has been playing a lot.
What is your favorite recipe to make with your French Onion Confit?
A simple Gruyere and Pain Rustique grilled cheese is always a winner, but our French Onion, Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Tart is perfect this time of year.
What other product in our May basket would you most want to try?
I have had all of these but I have to say, I am rather obsessed with Bee Local’s honeys.
Stay in touch with Liz + Three Little Figs!