Most people walk into the new kitchen and think, “Uhh Nate, that’s a small kitchen- how will you feed 500 people at once?” The way we’ve designed the kitchen is compact but efficient. When we’re on the line, we won’t have to move and can reach everything. We also have a top of the line CVap oven, so we can do sous vide and slow cooking items; we’ll be able to prep ahead of time and really take our time and attention to detail, making sure everything is going to be the exact quality that we want in terms of execution of the food. We have spaces within the building that are solely dedicated to specific functions of the kitchen and operations. A lot of times with a kitchen, your pantry and equipment and dry goods are all jammed together in one area and based on the limit of space to create efficiency. Here we have areas just totally dedicated to dry storage, our culinary lab, or just equipment. We’re able to spread ourselves out and take these spaces and use them to their highest functionality possible, where we can really focus on exacting whatever task that will coordinate with it.
Beyond figuring out the choreography of our kitchen, we are also focused on building a pantry. Right now we’re in the planning phase of “what do we want to have”? We have a fair amount of dry storage space on site that we will utilize like a root cellar and storage for our spices. There are a bunch of ingredients we plan to use that we don’t want to just order. We’ll be using a lot of cayenne pepper. So that means, for us, ordering a bunch of peppers and drying them out in the kitchen. We’re not buying powdered pepper. We’re doing it fresh. We’ll smoke some, to add another layer of flavor. Same with onion powder, or garlic powder for example. There are a bevy of dry spices used in Creole cuisine that will require space and planning to do that, so we need to get ahead of the game this spring when everything comes in season. We’ll also be creating a lab at Jimmy’s just like at Atlantic Grill, to provide that creative outlet in our repertoire across all of our restaurants. I’m excited for our chefs to create things on their own without guidance from me to see what happens.
I’m so thrilled that Brian Stewart, our sous chef from River House, will be joining the Jimmy’s team. He is probably the single most organized human I’ve ever encountered. Unfathomably organized. Brian has a high intensity catering background which is a massive piece to our puzzle. He will be a great counterpart in leading the kitchen.
As for the actual execution, we’ll be focused on providing the highest level of service to each area of the building, whether it be Jimmy’s Main Stage, the Sky Bar, Elle’s Lounge or one of our other rooms. The key is being able to have full communication with all of our staff on the floor, so we in the kitchen can understand the pace we are at; if we need to speed up or slow down, etc. It will be an intense environment, “none to done” REAL quick. We’ll be training new staff, but are also looking for people born and bred for that. It’s specific worklife…0-60mph. Brian and I are both level headed under pressure which is key. We need to be comfortable making seven million decisions in seven minutes that can make or break the event. Thinking forward, any chefs working with us that can adhere to the standards and work ethic that we’ll set, will allow us to train chefs within the Labrie group that can jump that career ladder pretty quickly. If we aren’t even buying garlic dried…they’re in for a ride.