I have known Carlo Biondi for years, even before I wrote this, way back in 2011. , As corny as it sounds, Carlo really is a Renaissance man, constantly re-inventing himself; musician, chef, and now, along with his girlfriend Emily Washburn, a purveyor of the best jerky I have ever eaten. I may be preaching to the choir, because I know, their business, Serenity Jerky Co, is rocking and rolling. Carlo is also good at "the words thing", so I am going to let him tell you their story. But before I do, a couple of things about this jerky: I have tried several flavors, all are delicious! The price is great; 7 bucks for a generous portion; just to compare, I was in 7-11 yesterday and that is what a smaller pack of jerky costs there, and there is NO COMPARISON! If you are local, they deliver for free! So seriously, give it a try, you will not be disappointed, and you will be supporting an awesome local business!
"Emily and I started the Serenity Jerky company during quarantine after we were temporarily laid off. We had a huge amount of spare time obviously and it's impossible to keep me out of the kitchen. It is where I go to get away, it's the opposite of work to me, it's my sandbox. It's our sandbox. A few days into the adventure I remembered Emily talking about her family recipe for jerky. We hadn't tried it yet and it seemed like a fun thing to do together since we are huge jerky fans. We took a little money and did something non-essential. We bought a dehydrator and some super nice cuts of meat.
We played with some flavor styles while keeping her signature recipe at the core and ate pounds of jerky while smiling and talking about life...not a care in the world, which was amazing. When we were cooking it's like the whole world went away, which was great since it was such an unsure time. Out of work, baby on the way, and everything else that came with Covid-19. One day I said "Emily, this recipe is the best, I think we could share it?" We posted on Facebook that we would deliver it and the people rallied. We bought better equipment, got a supplier, opened an online store all with the support of long time locals ordering away.
Like craft beer, and music.. it turned out jerky had it's own sub culture where an appreciation for the art of hand crafting, small batching, and personality was welcome. So ... Jerky it was.
As a chef of over 20 years in the Annapolis area I have always loved turning an idea into food, then sharing it in the town I was born and raised in. Like my trips to the dining room as a chef, the trips in the jerky mobile landed us in the driveways of former teachers, coaches, band mates, middle school buddies and family friends. This was really just another way for us to do something that we have always loved doing. Emily is a life long restaurateur as well and is not afraid of hard work, long hours, attention to detail and shares a love of food.
So here we are. We cut the jerky by hand, literally inspect every piece before we drop it in the marinade, AND after it comes off the racks before we bag it. We weigh it by hand, bag it by hand and package it in butcher paper with a little twine bow. We stamp every one by hand and the whole time it is about staying in the moment. Hence our motto... Be Zen.
We have all fallen off the horse in our lives both personally and professionally. Many have. We love that neither of us are jaded nor have we lost the magic that drives us to reinvent our selves from time to time. To get back on the horse, and the simple concept that with all the craziness in the world it still, STILL just takes an idea and some heart and anything is possible.
We have every intention of remaining open after life returns to normal. Emily and I are expecting any second and while soon enough I will go back to work as an Annapolitan chef, we have designed Serenity Jerky Co. to be a working from home venture for now. Who knows what the future holds but one thing is for sure. It all happened so fast and we are eternally grateful for the support of Anne Arundel County and friends abroad who supported us and made surviving this unsure time a reality."