Rising Star Chef Jamie Leeds of Hank's Oyster Bar - Biography

Washington, DC

November 2011

It’s been a little over a year since Jamie Leeds came to D.C., a shock considering the serious splash she’s made on the Capital city’s culinary scene first with 15 ria in the Washington Terrace Hotel, and now with the wildly popular Hank's Oyster Bar.

Leeds is a self-taught chef who began her career in the kitchen of Union Square Café—a watershed New York City eatery—where owner Danny Meyer promoted her from line cook to sous chef in under a year. Meyer then went a step further, sending his protégé to Europe to train at such prestigious establishments as the Hotel Negresco in Nice, Pain Adour et Fantaisie in Grenade Sur L’Adour, Gascogne and Hostellerie du Cerf, Marienheim in Alsace. "Jamie cooks from her heart with a rare passion that is refreshingly devoid of any culinary contrivance, ” say Danny Meyer. Leeds describes her culinary style as “American, fresh and honest.”

After working for Meyer for four years, Leeds worked as an independent consultant helping to create menus and organize restaurant kitchens in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. In 1997, Leeds became the chef of The Globe in New York, but in 2000 joined forces with the Myriad Restaurant Group as corporate consulting chef where she traveled the country opening restaurants like the famed Steelhead Grill in Pittsburgh and Earth & Ocean in Seattle.

15 ria was Myriad’s first venture in the nation’s capital and showcased Leed’s bold, inventive American food. Her talent also won her a 2003 StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award. Branching out on her own in 2005, Leeds opened several locales of Hank's Oyster Bar, a neighborhood eatery focused on sustainable seafood and approachable cuisine. In an era of high-concept dining Leed's offers something that many places don’t: pure satisfaction.