We are so excited to promote Chef Brian Stuart to the role of Executive Sous Chef at Jimmy’s. Brian has been a member of our River House team, and we look forward to what’s in store at the new venue! We sat down to talk with him about his background, and what his role will be at Jimmy’s.
As the Executive Sous Chef of Jimmy’s, I’ll be working hand in hand with Chef Nate to manage the execution of our meals, from planning, to plating, to serving to our guests. My background in catering and banquets allows me to really see the bigger picture, and prioritize and organize based on those timelines. A lot of what Nate and I will be doing is meticulous, almost mathematical cooking at Jimmy’s.
I grew up in Hooksett NH, and moved to Portsmouth when I was sixteen. Around that time I got my first job in the industry as a dishwasher at a Country Club– my parents made me get a summer job, and while I didn’t think much of it at first, I ended up working really hard at it. The Executive Chef that hired me saw my work ethic and potential and gave me opportunity to learn to cook and grow in my role. He and I worked together for another sixteen years and still keep in touch today. He’s like a brother to me.
I eventually moved down to Massachusetts for a job opportunity as a sous chef. I was young and green and learned as I went. I took every new experience put in front of me as a learning opportunity. I would do my job and simultaneously look for something else to do. I was always asking myself, “What else can I put on my plate to expand my knowledge in the field?”.
This approach was what helped me land my first Banquet Chef role at a large country club that could host three functions simultaneously and seat 600 people at once. That’s where I learned how to prioritize and look at the week ahead as a big picture. Planning the events was based on the hour: certain things would fire at that hour point and I would time everything off of that.
I moved up the ranks there to become the Executive Chef until, in 2018, it was time to come back home. I’m a family-oriented person, and while I am grateful for my time in Massachusetts to build my career, it was a necessary time for me to come back home. Back in New Hampshire, the niche I had carved with my skill set allowed my career to be fairly malleable. I knew the River House needed a sous chef, and it turns out I had met the hiring chef ten years earlier. I met with him, and the Labries; they brought me in and the rest is history.
Fast forward to today, and I am thrilled for the next chapter of my culinary journey. The whole process of opening a restaurant from the ground up is going to be a great learning experience. The information and education I’ll receive is going to be paramount. I’ve done it once before but I was so young at the time, that I think my approach will be entirely different this time around.
Right now, Nate and I are sourcing local ingredients and establishing relationships with New Hampshire farms. I’ve never really focused on it the way we are now. Going out and seeing how it will make it’s way to the plate, paired with Nate’s enthusiasm, is infectious. It’s incredible. I’m looking forward to working alongside him, expanding my understanding of Creole cuisine, and continually making myself a better chef.
At Jimmy’s, the pace will be fast but the quality won’t. As leaders, we’ll be considering what we do ahead of time to ensure the quality will be the best it can be, while also managing the responsibility on our shoulders. Nate and I will be looking at it from all angles to figure out what works best for us, and the execution, to ensure our guests’ experience is perfect from beginning to end.