Kathleen Culliton: What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Jeramie Robison: My dad and his four brothers were a big influence on my getting into cooking. My dad always wanted to take it to a professional level so I pursued it. I come from a family of cooks.
KC: Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring cooks?
JR: I don’t think it’s necessary. I would say to get into a very nice hotel where you can get your hands on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and room service—A French brigade kitchen where you can get your hands on everything. Coming from [The Mansion on] Turtle Creek, that’s how I got where I am now. We had a saucier and a breakfast chef, and they don’t sleep. We had a butcher and fish butcher—we had the whole thing. Whether it’s cooking a hamburger or foie gras or learning stocks and sauces, you can just get your hands on all of it.
KC: What are a few of your favorite flavor combinations?
JR: Gosh, I don’t know. I’m all over the place. I love seafood with tomato products. I’m a really big fan of the acidic flavor in the tomato. Madras curry is something I love to use. I do a merguez with Madras curry, sautéed onion, and cumin aïoli, and here I do it with a soy glaze and sea bass.
KC: What’s your most indispensable kitchen tool? Why?
JR: My most used tool is the Kunz spoon. I use it move purées around. Also, a stick blender to emulsify.
KC: Is there a culinary technique that you have either created or borrowed and use in an unusual way?
JR: I do a lot of French braising with vegetables, sweating them out slowly, adding a knob of butter, covering them in stock with parchment paper lid. This slowly brings them down and pulls out the flavor. Then I add a little butter and whip. I do this instead of blanching vegetables—I do a lot of braising. In terms of roasting whole fish in the oven, it’s a great technique, not an aggressive technique. It doesn’t dehydrate the protein, but just slowly puts the heat through to cook it.
KC: Define “American Cuisine.” What does it mean to you?
JR: It’s a mix of a lot of different things—lots of cultures coming together. In terms of knowing other cuisines, I don’t have a strong opinion on that. I’ve taken from what I’ve learned, and I’m doing my own thing with it. I ate out twice [when I worked] in New York. I’m buried in the kitchen.
KC: If you weren’t a chef, what do you think you’d be doing?
JR: Professional mountain biker? It’s a tough one. I’ve never really enjoyed sports, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.