Current Position: Personal/Private Chef, Portland, Or.
Company Affiliation: Jonathon Strand, Personal/Private Chef in Portland, Or.
Social Handles For More From Jonathon Strand:
Google+ : Jonathon Strand and The Tactical Chef
Personal Blog: The Tactical Chef: http://thetacticalchef.worpress.com
Restaurantware Interviewer: Explain your food philosophy in 10 words or fewer.
Chef Jonathon Strand: My food philosophy is simple. We can’t lose the knowledge we’ve gained as we head forward. So when it comes to food this translates into foraging, preservation, slow-cooking and smoking. While all these old-world techniques are great for adding dimensions of flavor, they are also ways we as humans have survived. Understanding these techniques is therefore essential.
Restaurantware Interviewer: What is your most unique attribute as a food professional?
Chef Jonathon Strand: I think my most unique attribute as a culinary professional is my passionate interest in research. I will read and practice until I have perfected something. This especially holds true with foraging, which by nature can be dangerous. As everyone knows, you can’t just pick the first mushroom you see and cook it up!
Restaurantware Interviewer: Explain the most innovative event you’ve thrown or dish you’ve ever created.
Chef Jonathon Strand: The most interesting event I ever held was a cooking class for eleven people, including one exceptional young cook with some real talent, at Pepperberries cooking school in Eugene, Or. The focus of the class: a four course menu around local and wild ingredients. I was able to demonstrate how to prepare ingredients like lemon balms, ramps, lavender, chanterelles, local lamb and quail, etc. This was pretty exciting stuff for a group of home cooks! I had a blast with the class interaction. Most of the ingredients for that event were foraged by myself that very morning.
Restaurantware Interviewer: What is the most underrated kitchen product or food item?
Chef Jonathon Strand: Underrated food product: In the culinary world people are branching out and it’s starting to come along, and I have a lot to learn as well, but I think that its more of a process, not a process…fermentation.
Restaurantware Interviewer: How do ecofriendly considerations enter your decision making process as a chef or caterer? (i.e. sourcing local food, using ecofriendly plates, etc.)
Chef Jonathon Strand: I have a strong commitment as a consumer, a chef and a member of the human race to utilize everything I use in a responsible manner. As a caterer this is why I purchase from other companies who feel the same level of responsibility. Considering a local fish over something from halfway around the world is just common sense. It promotes healthy living, keeps down the fuel use and supports local economy.
Restaurantware Interviewer: Restaurantware is providing a stylish presentation for food, explain your approach to plating and tablescapes.
Chef Jonathon Strand: When I’m creating an event or a meal, I don’t try to make something work. I’m very instinctual by nature so allowing the room I’m doing an event in or the ingredients for a dish to reveal the next step in the process is a very personal, spontaneous thing. I like layers and textures and I don’t do anything twice the exact same way.
Restaurantware Interviewer: List one tip that you would give a DIY entertainer or at home cook who might need professional inspiration to take a gathering to the next level.
Chef Jonathon Strand: Go somewhere beautiful to you and just sit, breath and listen. This is how I prepare, how I get inspiration. Then when serving, just stick to what you know and do it well.
Restaurantware Interviewer: What is the BEST thing you’ve eaten lately?
Chef Jonathon Strand: It’s the flavor of the moment. So since it’s the end of fall and the beginning of winter. Roasted Sunchokes!