By Chester Simpson
Chef Jeffery Lewis
Chart House Restaurant
One Cameron Street
Old Town Alexandria
When did you first become interested in cooking? Why did you decide to pursue a culinary career?
I was 14 or so. Got my first job and I was hooked. I really enjoyed it. When I was younger it was about the food, all the interesting people you work with and serve. However, the older I get the more I have realized that all of that is very important, but serving others is why I do it. Nothing is more satisfying then a happy guest.
Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
Julia Childs for giving me and interest as a child on TV; Ferdinand Point he stuck to his principals and demonstrated service to others. There are many and not just food oriented.
What dish on the menu are you most curious to see how it’s received by guest?
Our Banh Mi. Having pork belly on our menu is something out of what we do, but our guests really seem to love it. It is delicious.
What do you do to ensure that the quality of the food going out to customers is of a high standard?
Mise en place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs, means is to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking), training, retraining. Systems that remind you to check before, during, and after dining. Keep reminding your employees what the standard is. Passion is great, but remember what drives you, find out what drives others and we can all be driven to ensure the quality and the experience that our guests have.
If any chef in the world could prepare you a meal, who would it, be?
I cannot pick one!
Ferdinand Point, (was a French chef and restaurateur and is considered to be the father of modern French cuisine), Thomas Keller (who is an American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer), Charlie Trotter (who was Chicago’s most famous, revered, groundbreaking, and feared chef), Marco Pierre White (an English chef, restaurateur and television personality from Leeds. White has been dubbed the first celebrity chef, and the enfant terrible of the UK restaurant scene). The list could go on forever.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Food. Anything smoked or grill. I don’t generally feel guilty, I just exercise more.
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