To some, chef-branded pots, knives and sauces are a sign of selling out.
But chef-endorsed syrups have escaped that stigma; on the contrary, these collaborations of chef and sap are a growing trend with a cultish following.
Take the Mikuni Noble Tonic line: We can't wait to get our hands on chef Sean Brock's soon-to-launch sorghum syrup. Meanwhile, Blis syrups are the project of a former chef.
Burton's Maplewood Farm, based in Medora, Indiana, is the latest site of sticky-fingered chef influence. Chicago toques such as Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan have worked with the farm's owner, Tim Burton, to create exclusive barrel-aged syrups for their restaurants.
Unfortunately, you can't get a taste without visiting the restaurants, but we're equally excited about Burton's other new venture: booze-flavored syrups ($35).
Burton filled rum, brandy and bourbon barrels with hot maple syrup last year; when the syrup emerged, he topped each variety with some of the liquor that originally occupied the barrels. We favor the brandy-infused concoction, which offers sweet, woody flavors that culminate in a floral, jasmine-rich finale.
And with just a limited number of bottles available, do as the infomercials say and act now! (We won't call it selling out.)