Round two with Jay Leandro, chef at Pub 17 on Welton Street
What's your biggest pet peeve? When you just get done prepping something in the kitchen and someone walks up to you and says, "Hey, you know we have a whole gallon of that in the walk-in?" To which I respond, why would I be making this if I knew we already had it?
Which chef has most inspired you? Greg Morton, the first chef I worked for back in Massachusetts. Greg had so much passion for what he did, and he cooked because it made people happy. He taught me all about balancing flavors and correctly treating ingredients. And for a not-so-patient person, he was remarkably patient with me...he taught me so much. His passions were great barbecue, paella, jambalaya and lobster bakes.
Favorite celebrity chef: Mario Batali. I've never met the guy, so personality traits are out, but he seems to really know what he's talking about, he's a hell of good chef, and I've never heard him bash another chef.
Celebrity chef who needs a muzzle: Gordon Ramsay comes to mind, although I think I'm most irritated by the fans of his shows. When someone finds out I'm a chef, one of the most frequent questions I get -- usually by someone in my family -- is "Have you seen the show with that crazy chef Gordon Ramsay? Do you yell like that in your kitchen?" If people actually yelled like that on a consistent basis, they'd find themselves working alone. I don't think anything can be accomplished in the kind of atmosphere that's created on Ramsay's show.
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: My promotion to chef de cuisine of Pub 17. It meant a lot to be so recognized by a group of chefs and mentors that I've been learning from -- and working with -- since I was doing my stage for school. I've grown a lot professionally at the Hyatt, and I'm very proud to have earned their respect and trust. Our recent win at the first annual Chef N Brew event was pretty awesome, too.
Last meal before you die: A big Maine lobster with a lot of salted, unclarified butter. For dessert, I'd have to choose several scoops of salted caramel ice cream.
What's next for you? I'm not really sure what lies ahead for me in my career; I'm pretty content right now. My family is continuing to grow and the restaurant is doing well, so I'm definitely busy and happy. Eventually, I'd like to become a chef instructor; my mom has been a teacher for 34 years and loves every minute of it.