Round two with Jeremy Kittelson, exec chef of Ambria
What's your biggest pet peeve? I have a few, but repeating the same things over and over again is the worst. It's just such a waste of time and counterproductive. So much of success is based on following instructions and repeating those actions. I'm pretty sure it's the reason I've lost my hair.
If you could cook for one famous chef, dead or alive, who would it be? Jean-Georges. He gave me the most amazing meal, and I'd like the chance to give something back to him. I imagine he'd also have a lot of hot models surrounding him.
Favorite celebrity chef: I really like Anthony Bourdain. I think what he's doing for the culinary world is great and we should all thank him. He's turned people on to food in a way that nobody else has. So many people outside the industry tell me how much they love his shows and how it inspires them. His work is making food lovers of the masses. He may also have the coolest job of all time.
Celebrity chef who needs a muzzle: Gordon Ramsay needs to tone it down, although it'll never happen because it makes for such great reality TV. Nonetheless, that kind of trash talk gives people the wrong impression about our industry. I do, however, have a tremendous respect for what he has accomplished in his career.
Culinary heroes: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Paul Kahan, Michel Bras, Fergus Henderson, Alice Waters and Mario Batali. Love them all.
Most humbling moment as a chef: Right this moment -- and opening Ambria. There's just so much more going on when you open your own restaurant. It's way more than just cooking delicious food. People depend on you to pay their bills and make a living. That's a whole other level of responsibility.
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: People that I've worked with in the past still want to work with me, and I really try and help them further their careers. I currently have seven amazing people working alongside me at Ambria, all of whom I've worked with before. I'm not sure if they're loyal, crazy or just gluttons for punishment.
What's your dream restaurant? Grant Achatz already has it, and it's called Next. The restaurant switches concepts every three months and cooks from different time periods and places in history -- and even the future. I think it's one of the most brilliant restaurants I've ever heard about, and a place where you would never become complacent. I can't wait to go there the next time I'm in Chicago.
What's next for you? I hope to do a smaller concept, like a barbecue joint. I think it would be so fun to do something like that -- and profitable, too.