“Keep your eyes open, your mouth shut, and your nose to the cutting board.”
In an interview with Jason Boniface, executive chef at The Red Door, he shares his story and a little advice he got as a young, up-and-coming cook. He studied under Jamie Bissonnette, a James Beard award winning chef of Toro Boston, Toro NYC, and Coppa Boston. Now, Jason perfects his craft every evening at The Red Door, innovating new dishes and and adding a New England twist on old classics.
How long have you been cooking?
“Over 20 years. I started in my parents’ restaurant at 15, bussing tables for $0.25 an hour. Once I was old enough, I could finally get into the kitchen, where I always wanted to be. We served many different dishes at our restaurant, everything from cheeseburgers to lobster. In a place like this, you learn how to perfect some of the simple items you might see on every menu.”
What was your professional training like?
“I went to culinary school right after high school. Then, I found apprenticeships with incredibly well-respected chefs in Boston, like Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette. Jamie studied in France, and was definitely like one of those demanding chefs you would see on TV. I learned to keep my eyes open and my mouth shut. We called it ‘nose to the cutting board.'”
How would you describe your cooking style?
“In all honesty, I’d say eclectic. I get bored easily, and there are so many incredible varieties of cuisine to learn and master. I actually practiced a lot of Asian techniques from Ken and Jamie, like cooking with a wok. And by the way, you should really get yourself a wok. Even if you don’t see it, there is a ton of progression in the food industry. A good chef has to stay on top of the change.”
What are some of your favorite ingredients and techniques?
“That really depends on what I’m in the mood for. I love curry, and you’ll see variations of it on our menu a lot. Our most popular Buddha Bowl is based on flavors from the Southwest. Searing and braising short ribs is one of my favorite techniques. It’s 4-5 hours of cook time, and it shows.”
What do you do when you’re not cooking?
“Eating, probably. I’ve also been riding motorcycles for 15 years. And I still want that boat I’ve got my eye on! A few of my personal favorite restaurants include The Rooster & The Till, and Longman & The Eagle in Chicago. I’m also a big fan of a nice whisky or bourbon on the rocks.”
Come out to The Red Door and see what Chef Jason Boniface has in store for you!