Celebrity Q & A

Aaron and Liz Eckburg are the owners of Fountain Hills based Go Lb. Salt. Plus, Aaron loves to cook!

go lb. salt
is arizona's original salt bar, bringing premium sea salts to select local farmers markets in the Phoenix area. Rather than looking for mass market contracts, they bring their premium products directly to you and your table. Because their focus is on the product, not the packaging, they use simple, unbleached brown paper bag packaging.

Their offering has expanded to include not only Natural & Organic sea salts and Smoked sea salts, but they now also have Himalayan Aromatic sea salts, Himalayan Saltware cooking and serving slabs, premium imported peppercorns & pepper berries along with their new line of certified organic flavored cane sugars.


  • What created your passion for cooking?

    My insatiable appetite! My parents fed me well as my 6' 5” frame well attests, but I was always hungry. As the oldest of five children, mom expected that I shoulder some of the responsibilities in the kitchen. That included washing the dishes, and I HATED washing dishes. But, the house rule was that “the cook doesn't clean” so I knew what I needed to do. I needed to learn to cook unique and tasty dishes that made me irreplaceable at the stove. The idea that I could cook some of the unique and exotic dishes that I saw as a child in our subscription to WORLD! Magazine quickly took me in that direction. I remember shopping for curry powder at a grocery story in Iowa when I was 9 years old so that I could make Chicken Tandoori. It was a terrible experience, and I don't think my parents had ever had a curry dish in their life. As bad as that dish was, my family politely choked that meal down. I shudder every time I hear the words Chicken Tandoori and to this day I'm still cautious when it comes to curry dishes, but the desire to make something uniquely delicious never waned.

    Fast forward 10 years to my time to NYC. I went there for an entirely different reason, but along the way, I learned to cook from some really awesome little old Italian ladies in the neighborhood. From macaroni (all pasta was called macaroni) to fresh pulled mozzarella, they helped me to appreciate the importance of not only enjoying but being excited about your time in the kitchen as well as the foods you cook. If you didn't or couldn't feel that way about the things you prepared, then you didn't belong in the kitchen.

  • Where is your favorite place to eat?

    It would have to be sushi or teppanyaki. Both are such beautifully straight-forward, food-forward experiences. They are typically minimalist in their approach, preparation and presentation; and as such allow the freshest of food ingredients to be showcased through the precision of technique and the simplicity of ingredients. And yet in all of that, there is great complexity in even the simplest preparations. The movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi helped me understand why our traditional anniversary dinner has been sushi and sashimi for the last 15 years.

  • What's your favorite dessert?

    I can't honestly narrow it down to just one. But my favorites do all fall into a couple of categories of sorts. Creme Brulee, Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Cannolis. There's just something comforting about a rich, silky, creamy dessert – especially because each of these can be served with fresh fruit to further enhance the experience. On the other hand a nice after dinner cocktail with a simple dark chocolate can really make a beautiful end to a great meal.

  • What's your favorite thing to cook?

    Anything that I am going to share with family or friends. Especially something I haven't tried before. The new attempt will always give the opportunity to discuss the outcome. If it turns out great, you can share tips and tricks. If it winds up being an epic fail, no worries there either because family and friends are rarely disappointed when you cook for them. The best part is that even a mediocre meal with friends is better than the best meal in fine dining enjoyed alone.

  • What ingredients can you not do without when you're cooking?

    Salts of course! Generically speaking, we use salt in almost everything that we cook or bake, and yet when a recipe calls for salt we don't usually ask “Which one?” - but only “How much does it take?” And yet, each unrefined sea salt is best suited for certain foods and specific uses, so a typical meal for us at home will use 3-5 different salts. There are far too many people in the world who suffer from Bland Food Syndrome and only because they are afraid of or don't know how to properly use salt.

  • What's the most basic advice you give when you're talking to someone about cooking?


    Remember these four essential things: Taste everything. Taste things raw and taste them cooked. A good cook needs to be able to imagine the combination of flavors that will present in any given dish. For example, it's difficult to imagine the fruitiness of a jalapeno and what it adds to a crudo if you've never tried one raw. On the other hand it's distinct savory-ness is equally difficult to imagine if you've never grilled or fire roasted one. Make mistakes. You can't improve if you don't try and you won't make mistakes if you don't try. Mistakes are the key to improvement. Learn to balance the big three – Salt, Fat & Acid. Every dish needs each of those components to create something memorable. Share what you cook and create. Take the time to see good for your hard work by sharing your efforts with others. There isn't anyone that doesn't like to talk about food at least once in a while!
  • Share your thoughts about Arizona agriculture.

    There is a lot about Arizona Agriculture that will hopefully move people to rethink the 'buy local' movement. The surge we've seen in Arizona viniculture and viticulture highlights the awesome diversity we have here. Our own interest in growing truffles here in the state really opened our eyes to the reality that there are very few things that can't be grown or cultivated here given the unique geographical and climatological diversity of this particular region of the southwest. We have had the privilege of meeting several of the small family farms, farmers, ranches and ranchers that are the core of Arizona agriculture. It's exciting to see so many farmers and ranchers embracing the opportunities available, and that ultimately benefits all of us as end users because we get the privilege and joy of knowing exactly where our food comes from and what's gone into producing it!

  • Any Advice about food and nutrition?

    It's a cause and effect relationship and yet they can seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. We eat because we are hungry now. When the hunger subsides we're happy because we feel we've met our body's need. However, while we may have provided for our basic sustenance in terms of caloric intake, we may also have short-changed ourselves in terms of our more over-reaching nutritional needs. There is no shortcut to good nutrition. It's not like we can take a pill or a shot and get everything we need. Scientists are still trying but we aren't there yet. And frankly, I'm glad we aren't - I don't want pills and shots. I want good meals and great tasting food. We are what we eat. I'm far from a purist and have eaten more than my fair share of fast food, but there's no substitute for sensibleness. If we make smart choices about the foods we eat, the nutrition aspect will follow. If we make poor choices we will suffer for it. Maybe not today, but in the years ahead we will... it's inevitable. When it comes to food and nutrition we all need to slow down and take a more long-term view of things.

  • What do you consider unique to Arizona when it comes to food, restaurants and/or anything related?

    Right now it would have to be the Ancient Grains Project. Seeing Sonoran White wheat growing here after disappearing for one hundred or more years is impressive. We have family members on both sides who are diagnosed Celiacs and others who are gluten intolerant, so the idea of ancient grains properly fermented to produce an entirely gluten free end product is great to see. Knowing that this particular variety is so well suited for desert planting and requires just a third the irrigation of today's varieties is even more exciting. I'm really looking forward to watching the final cut of “Rise of the Grains” - the video documentary currently being filmed and produced as this project unfolds.

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The Journey of My Eggcellent Egg