Kenny Callaghan of BLUE SMOKE - Biography

New York,, NY

August 2013

Executive chef, pit master and partner of Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, Kenny Callaghan is a pioneer of urban barbecue, ushering old school techniques and rich flavors into New York City for more than 10 years. But Callaghan didn’t start at the top of the smoky food chain. He earned his associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales and a bachelor of arts in foodservice management in 1988. From there he began his career in earnest, first at the Helmsley Palace Hotel, later moving on to New York’s iconic Russian Tea Room.

From 1993 to 2001, Callaghan moved through several positions at Union Square Café, working his way up to executive sous chef.  Finding a culinary calling specifically in the barbecue side of things, Callaghan went on to open Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, serving up pit barbecue and a combination of good eats and good music respectively. In fact, over the past decade, Callaghan has seamlessly united the best of urban living with the best of barbecue—not only with his own establishments but also as founder of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, which calls on barbecue masters from all over the country to feed hungry New Yorkers, with plenty of napkins on hand.