Chef Chat, Part 2: Jeramie Robison of Restaurant Cinq at La Colombe d'Or
Yesterday we talked to Chef Jeramie Robison about how he got his start in the restaurant industry at such a young age.
Mai Pham Chef Jeramie Robison in the kitchen at Restaurant Cinq
Today we talk to him about how he's been shaking things up since he took over at La Colombe d'Or.
EOW: You've told me before that Restaurant Cinq is doing more covers now than its done in a long time. What have you done to put it back on the map, so to speak?
JR: When I started at the end of July/August, it was the start of restaurant week, so I just came in and started cooking. It took a few months to get things organized. We also opened Zimm's Little Deck down the street within a month or so. They gave me the concept, I organized and trained the crew, developed the menu, all the recipes...
EOW: I remember you getting a lot press and attention fairly quickly, how did that come about?
JR: I think it coincided with the roll-out of our 30-year anniversary menu. Then Starchefs.com came in December/January, and that's when everything kicked off. Gayot put me in their Top 5 Rising Chefs, along with two others in NYC and two in California.
EOW: How would you describe the food you're doing here?
JR: Steve gives me full reign to do whatever I want within the restaurant, but it's always going to be a European hotel. If I had to describe it, I would probably say I do modern European cuisine with a southern flair.
EOW: What dish most closely represents your style of cooking?
JR: Scallops and fried green tomatoes. It shows my upbringing and being around seafood. But that's the thing. I'm still playing around with ingredients.
EOW: You've changed the menu quite a bit, haven't you?
JR: We're going to introduce a new menu the second or third week of September. Last year, I kept their old classics on one side and my new ideas on the other. With the new menu, we're just keeping a couple of classics -- the escargot and rack of lamb -- those will always stay on the menu. But the majority of last year's menu will soon be gone. My new ideas from last year will become classics, and a whole new menu is being developed.
EOW: Tell me about something that surprises diners when they come here.
JR: They're always surprised to see how gorgeous the place is.
EOW: And you're getting a lot of repeat business, yes?
JR: We get a lot of two-tops coming back on the weekend. They'll come in for a business lunch and get the short ribs or the grouper, then they'll come back with a date or a friend.
EOW: Have you had any time to try other restaurants in the city?
JR: Not really. I went to Americas River Oaks last Sunday. I met David Cordua. I still want to try Rainbow Lodge, Reef, Pondicheri, Samba Grille...
EOW: Do you have a favorite cheap eats?
JR: Yes! I do. Al's Quick Stop. The best gyro on Waugh. I usually get the gyro plate with hummus.
EOW: How about for drinks?
JR: It's usually Grand Prize Bar or Bar Boheme.
EOW: And what is your preferred drink?
JR: It varies. I like Budweiser. I'll have a blueberry mojito poolside --homemade. But when I go out I drink beer.
EOW: Whats your favorite thing about Houston?
JR: The people here. Everyone's really nice. This area [Montrose].
EOW: How different is it from your hometown?
JR: We have a Target here. There's only 6,000 people in my hometown.
EOW: Do you cook at home?
JR: My girlfriend's been cooking for me, but yeah, sometimes she'll buy stuff and I'll do some braised ribs...
EOW: What's your favorite food?
JR: Comfort food.
EOW: What would your last meal, be, then?
JR: Salisbury steak, onions bell peppers, gravy, with smothered squash, braised cabbage, cornbread. I would want my mom to make it.
EOW: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JR:That's a good question...Five years...[rubs his chin, smiling] Hopefully, I'd own a successful restaurant. But I see myself cooking. I'll always be cooking.
Check back with us tomorrow when we taste some of Robison's cooking.
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