Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they’re at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe. So read on, as we bring you these answers and more — direct from the culinary masters themselves. Some of the most famous names in the industry, including legendary Michelin-starred chefs, have divulged exciting insider information and personal stories of their journey to the top just for our readers.
Restaurant: Triomphe Location: New York Type of Cuisine: French
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
Jason: After my freshman year of college I moved to Florida and moved in with my mother. I enrolled in a local college with an undetermined goal, and I noticed an ad for a culinary school offering free tuition to try their culinary arts program. It was love at first sight. I grew up around food, so it made sense to learn more about it. My mother is from Italy and I always took part in the family tradition of great Italian feasts on Sundays and every holiday.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
Jason: Come spend a few days in my kitchen to make sure it is really what you want to do as a career. It is a life-changing career that requires ultimate dedication, time discipline and stress, but if this is your passion, you will never “work” a day in your life.
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
Jason: I am inspired by the seasons and combine this with my Perfect Bite Philosophy to enhance the tastes, balance the flavors and create harmony with the seasons. The “perfect bite” is created to exceed the taste as well as the visual expectation of our guests.
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
Jason: The end of summer harvest provides abundant greens and fresh farm vegetables that dominate my menu—heirloom tomatoes, fresh peas, asparagus, watermelon, and of course that fresh, sweet corn.
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
Jason: Living in Asia at several different points in my life has had the largest influence on my cooking and creative design; clean, elegant cuisine focusing on the natural ingredients.
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
Jason: With the impact of reality TV, there has been an increase in focus on chefs and the art they create daily. Using this medium on a national level, chefs now have access to audiences they otherwise may not have been able to reach.
JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?
Jason: I would have to say that there has been a tremendous spotlight on cooking and the entire culinary career path with all of the TV productions and social media that has developed over the past several years. It is an ever-changing marketing challenge to stay ahead of the curve. You also need to be able to divide your time between creating exquisite meals and being able to maximize all of the social media channels for ultimate business success.
JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?
Jason: At home I really enjoy making Teppanyaki, which is what Americans would call Benihana, or American-style Japanese Steakhouse where we cook in front of the diners. Teppanyaki originated in Japan and it is an art form using only the highest quality ingredients cooked to your, or the chef's taste. I enjoy cooking Teppanyaki-style at home because it requires interactive cooking with my friends and family who are joining me for dinner.
My favorite meal to prepare at Triomphe is our short-ribs entrée. This is perfect homey meal for a chilly winter’s evening.
JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?
Jason: I enjoy most outdoor sports and actions sports like football and baseball. I like to hunt and fish when time allows. I also have a passion for exercising and eating healthy and this translates into several of the seasonal dishes I create at Triomphe.
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