One of the great perks of working with the country’s best restaurants is, of course, meeting the country’s best chefs! We’ve had the privilege of supplying chefs from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between for nearly three decades. As you can imagine, we’ve met a lot of interesting, talented and inspiring characters over the years. We thought it would be fun to share a little personal info about these chefs – in their words – in our new column, D’Artagnan Tastemakers. We hope you like it!
Jean Joho has a classic French chef story. He started as an apprentice to the legendary Paul Haeberlin at just 13 years old, he earned his chops in restaurants across France, Italy, and Switzerland, attended Hotel & Restaurant School in Strasbourg and was helming a 3 Michelin starred kitchen at the tender age of 23.
Chef Joho is a Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, James Beard Award Winner, and his 4-star Chicago restaurant Everest, consistently ranks among the countries best. We’ve had the pleasure of being a supplier for Jean Joho’s restaurants for several years now, and accolades aside, what impresses us the most is his convivial spirit and commitment to top-quality, seasonal ingredients. This is why Jean Joho is a D’Artagnan Tastemaker. Read on to learn more about the chef with the infectious smile!
Chef, what do you cook at home?
I grew up with a father who was a businessman and he entertained very frequently. So from a very young age, I was surrounded by the spirit of hospitality. We love to entertain and it is very seasonal. During the growing season, we use whatever we get from the farmers, in the snowy winter I love to cook in the fireplace or on an open fire.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
An artist or a sculptor. I am very inspired by art and have many artist friends, such as Ivo Soldini, the Swiss sculptor whose bronze statues adorn each of the tables at Everest, and John Westmark, from whom I recently purchased two paintings, also for the restaurant.
Favorite food destination?
I spend a lot of time in France, Italy, and Spain. I never tire of the cuisine, the landscape, the cities, the people, the ingredients and the history, the care and spirit that the people cook with.
What’s your fondest food memory?
Having lunch during the harvest in the vineyards with my father and his clients in Alsace. The weather was cold, so every day we would have warm soup, homemade sausage, ham baked in bread, suckling pig cooked on an open fire of vine segments, and fresh fruit pies.
What is the one ingredient that you can’t live without?
Mustard. It also reminds me of my childhood.
When you’re not in the kitchen, where can you be found?
During the growing season, I try to spend as much time as possible with the farmers in Michigan. Otherwise, with winemakers or at a cultural event—theater, museum, concerts, symphony.
If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be? What would you eat?
I would love to sit down and share a meal with Einstein. I would cook whole black truffles in potatoes, topped with fleur de sel.
Sounds amazing to us! Chef Joho is Chef/Proprietor at Everest and Paris Club in Chicago, Brasserie Jo in Boston and Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. Reservations can be made online, on the homepage of each location. Visit his site and learn more about him here.