Jared Brant, exec chef of Satchel's on 6th, raps on why he hates chef pants and the lamest dude alive
This is part one of my interview with Jared Brant, executive chef of Satchel's on 6th. Part two of that interview will run in this space tomorrow.
If you've eaten at Satchel's on 6th and loved the food, you can thank executive chef Jared Brant's former art teacher -- at least in part. "I desperately wanted to go to school to become an art teacher; I loved art and painting. But I absolutely hated my art teacher in high school -- so much, in fact, that it made me switch gears and go the cooking route," confesses Brant.
And as luck would have it, his sophomore year of high school, Brant was also taking a home economics class, in which the students were visited by a representative from Le Cordon Bleu. "Someone came in, and, if I remember correctly, they made an omelet while talking up culinary school, and while I'd never thought about becoming a cook, or a chef, I started to think that it might be something that I'd be interested in," Brant recalls. He made plans to enroll in culinary school, but a chef friend intervened, advising him to get a year of kitchen street cred under his belt before committing himself to the classroom. And that's exactly what he did. "I got my first kitchen job when I was a junior, washing dishes and doing prep, and I stayed for a good year and then applied to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in downtown Pittsburgh," he says.
Brant never looked back. He graduated, moved to Florida to work the line at a resort in Boca Raton, then returned to his home turf of Indianapolis, where he hooked up with a chef named Greg Hardesty. Brant compares him to Frank Bonanno, another chef he'd later team up with. "Greg was definitely the Frank of Indianapolis. Everyone watched his next move and couldn't wait to see what he did next," says Brant, adding that Hardesty is still the most inspirational chef for whom he's ever worked.
While he was doing time on the line, though, he met a girl who wanted to relocate to Denver, so Brant packed up his knives and the two headed to the Mile High City. He didn't waste any time getting his feet wet, staging at several Denver restaurants, including Red Square Euro Bistro, the Denver Country Club and Kevin Taylor's at the Opera House -- which he walked out of after three days. He also staged at Mizuna, just for a night, but two months after that stint, he got a phone call from Alex Seidel, then the chef de cuisine at Mizuna. "He was calling to offer me a job," recollects Brant. "At the time, everyone in Denver was telling me that Mizuna was the place to be, and working with Alex was fantastic. It was a great job."