Visions of Concord grape bubbles and carrot glass have been dancing in Pastry Chef Jordan Kahn’s head since he was a child. His first kitchen job was in his hometown of Savannah, Georgia, when he was only 15. A year later Kahn enrolled at Johnson & Wales and graduated in just eight months. His first job was at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry. He was 17, the youngest chef to ever work in Keller’s kitchen. But that’s Jordan Kahn for you: inexhaustibly creative and—perhaps a bit insanely—driven.
Kahn was asked to join the opening pastry team of Keller’s New York City outpost Per Se, where his inventive desserts and techniques caught the eye of Grant Achatz. In 2005, Kahn moved to Chicago to work for Achatz and Alinea Pastry Chef Alex Stupak, who helped Kahn further develop his signature style. Kahn returned to New York in late 2006 to become pastry chef at Varietal, where he won national acclaim for his culinary artistry. New York Times food critic Frank Bruni compared the pastry chef to Jackson Pollock and the New York Observer likened his dishes to Salvador Dalí paintings. Kahn was 23.
In 2009, Chef Michael Mina tapped Kahn to work at his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco. Kahn eventually transitioned into a corporate role, assisting in the opening and operations of Mina’s multiple restaurants across the United States and in Mexico. Kahn settled down at Mina’s Los Angeles flagship, XIV, where he once again broke boundaries and was named a 2010 StarChefs.com Rising Star. Kahn’s mission to challenge convention and reinterpret tradition has already distinguished him in the culinary world. Where he’ll take pastry next remains to be seen, but his newest venture takes him to the savory side and deep into Southeast Asian flavors at the French-Vietnamese Red Medicine.