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Thursday, June 25, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jeremy Bearman, Executive Chef of Rouge Tomate

As a self-taught chef who traded an Ivy League diploma for chef whites, Jeremy Bearman brings his experience running some of the most prestigious kitchens in the U.S. to the position as executive chef at Rouge Tomate. As executive sous chef at both db bistro moderne in New York City and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas, he acquired the experience necessary to execute a world-class dining experience. Jeremy has also been the executive chef at the Ritz Carlton’s Medici Café and Terrace in Lake Las Vegas and the opening chef for Lark Creek Steak in San Francisco, which was recognized as one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants of 2007.

A tireless proponent of using local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible, Jeremy’s seasonal menu will feature signature dishes such as Cannelloni of Beets and Beet Leaves, with sheep’s milk yogurt, blood oranges, pistachios and ice wine vinegar; Arctic Char with Smoked Sea Salt, trout roe and daikon radish; and Long Island Duck with fregola, quince and Medjool dates.

A born-and-bred New Yorker, Jeremy grew up in a food-oriented household, where he often dreamt up recipe ideas for the next meal before his family had finished the current one. While studying hospitality management at Cornell University, Jeremy ran the dining program at his fraternity house in exchange for free meals while building the foundation he would ultimately need to operate an organized a professional kitchen. During this time, he also took a job at a local restaurant; from the first day, he was hooked by the kitchen’s “controlled chaos” and upon graduation four years later, he pursued a culinary career in earnest and has never looked back.

At Rouge Tomate, Jeremy works in collaboration with culinary nutritionist Natalia Rusin to adhere to the principles of S.P.E.®, a nutritional charter that offers a balanced approach to sourcing, preparing and enhancing food.

Peachy Deegan interviewed Jeremy Bearman for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: How has your Ivy League (Cornell) education helped you as a chef?
Jeremy Bearman: When I entered school I did not know I wanted to be a Chef. I was like most kids that age, not sure what I wanted to do with my life. My studied Hotel Restaurant Management and while that is clearly not where my path led me, it did give me a well-rounded knowledge of how to manage an diverse and efficient staff.

Do you support the Cornell Hockey team?

What inspired you to become a chef?
My parents cooked a great deal in my youth but it was not until an externship at a local restaurant that I got the “chef bug”. I found I loved the whole restaurant industry: the energy of the kitchen, dealing with people and, most of all, getting to play with food. $9 an hour in a sweaty kitchen is not exactly the kind of job that attracts most fresh college graduates, but it was there that I discovered my love for cooking.

What makes RT unique to Manhattan?
Our commitment to being green an all aspect of the restaurant’s operations. Also the integration of nutrition into a fine dining experience.

How do you define local and sustainable ingredients?
I define local and sustainable ingredients as any northeastern product that is product in a way that cares for the environment and upholds the integrity of the product.

What is your favorite dish to make at RT & why?
I really enjoy making our salads. I think because it allows me to show off our exceptional ingredients as well as creatively play around with oils, vinaigrettes, and presentation.

What is the most popular dish ordered?
The Peach and Goat Cheese Salad

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Central park, because it’s steps away from Rouge Tomate and gives me the breath of fresh air I need after a busy lunch service.

What is your favorite shop?
Despaña in Soho- a Spanish specialty food store.

What is your favorite drink?
Any fresh squeezed fruit juices.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Blue Hill at Stone Burns in Westchester.

What is your favorite NYC book?
Time and Again, by Jack Finney

What is your favorite thing to do in New York City that you can do nowhere else?
I love taking my wife to a Broadway show.

What do you think is the most overrated and underrated here?
Underrated- I think New Yorkers as a whole are underrated. People are always saying how rude and unfriendly we are here but I have always found the opposite to be true.
Overrated- I cannot think of anything…this is home so of course I think it’s great.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I am a native New Yorker

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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