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Q & A With Jared Stafford-Hill

Chef Jared Stafford-Hill has traveled from East to West: previously chef de cuisine at Italian East Village restaurant, Hearth, he recently seized the opportunity to take over as executive chef at bobo,
a chic townhouse in the West Village.  Jared has revamped the European
menu and implemented a rigorously green-conscious kitchen.  Here, he
combines bohemian and bourgeois influences with a salad of jamon
serrano garnished with manchego, crushed almonds and apricots, and a
dry aged beef “Fiorentina” with oxtail, morels and ramps. 

Single/Married/Divorced?
I’m unmarried, but very happily taken.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be an architect as a kid.

What was your first job in food?

I was a dishwasher, at a fancy pizza place in Syracuse, NY. I knew then that this would be a good field….

You joined the ranks at Bobo after the somewhat early departure of chef Nicolas Cantrel.  Was it hard to take over someone else’s menu?

It is always more difficult to take over for someone
than to start from scratch. But we managed to transition the menu
smoothly and quickly.

Prior to Bobo, you spent time as chef de cuisine at Hearth
in the East Village, known for its Italian cuisine.  How has the
transition from Italian to European cuisine been and how has this
affected the rather dramatic revamping of the menu?

Both menus, at Hearth and bobo are rooted in
traditional European recipes, while showcasing seasonal American
produce. We have pretty traditional ravioli and risotto, as well as
pates and terrines.

Going “green” is very important to you both personally and
professionally.  In what ways do you accomplish this in the kitchen?…

I’ve
always been green. I was raised by actual hippies. My mother grew her
own broccoli and made her own yogurt. That translated to business
because environmental awareness is an effective long term business
strategy, particularly in a kitchen.  Waste is often a concern, but we
try to utilize as much product as possible, while composting organic
matter.

The décor of your restaurant is scattered with antique
memorabilia and dripping candles.  How does the romantic vibe of the
restaurant influence your newly implemented menu?

Honestly,
I hate the dim lighting. It’s good the guests, to set the mood, but I
spend hours trying to make the food look nice, but no one can actually
see it.

What’s your favorite dish on Bobo‘s menu right now?

I love the beef (dry-aged strip loin, oxtail sofrito,
morels & ramps) I think it’s BANANAS! But like most of our menu, it
will change soon.

What’s your least favorite dish (and yes, you must pick one)?

If I must pick one, it would be the risotto.  I think
it’s great, but every bite is the same, something I try to avoid. I
like the subtle interplay of different tastes and textures on the
palate.

What is your junk food of choice?

A big bottle of Coca Cola.

Other than your own, what’s your favorite restaurant in New York City?

Hearth.

What culinary trend do you most embrace?
I
am into everything “Heirloom.” I think the term may be too hyped and
overused, but at least it tastes good. I’m not so big on trends.

What trend do you wish would die already?

I could say goodbye to chemicals in cooking and silly, over the top cocktails.

What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new ventures or restaurants in the works? Spill the beans…
On the horizon? Tonight’s service!

Address: 181 W 10th St., at 7th Ave. S.
Phone: (212)
488-2626

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl
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