Jeremy Thomas, chef of Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar, on simplicity, spoons and Sheehan
What's your biggest pet peeve? Excuses. If I tell you something, I don't want to hear "but...but...but." Just say "Yes, chef" or "heard" -- the word we use most often in our kitchen.
Biggest menu bomb: A tempura-battered jalapeño stuffed with lobster meat and cream cheese and served with sweet-and-sour sauce. It was a mix between a jalapeño popper and a crab-and-cream-cheese wonton, and it was actually pretty cool, but Jason Sheehan -- your former restaurant critic -- ripped me for it in a review. Later in my career, I was on the phone with him for a review of another place -- French 250 -- that he really enjoyed. When he found out I was the creator of the lobster popper, I don't think he knew what to say.
Weirdest customer request: French onion soup...with no onions. I don't understand the point.
Weirdest thing you've ever put in your mouth: I ate crickets and other fried bugs in Korea, and they actually weren't that bad. The texture was the hardest part.
If you hadn't become a chef, what would you be doing right now? I'd probably be a pilot. When I first started going to school, it was for aviation. My father was a certified flight instructor and taught me how to fly, but I realized that flying planes was boring to me and that I much preferred the hustle and bustle of the restaurant life. My father's definition of flying was "hours of boredom and moments of terror."