Meet Bastille's New Chef: Jason Stoneburner

Jason Stoneburner by Geoffrey Smith.jpg
Photo by Geoffrey Smith
Jason Stoneburner's taken over the top spot for Shannon Galusha at Bastille.
You might recognize this guy. First time I spotted him, he was in the kitchen at How to Cook a Wolf, after moving from another Ethan Stowell restaurant, the now-shuttered Union. He was working the garde-manger station, plating crudo and salads and such, but what was so impressive was the way he tasted everything, a huge pile of spoons within his grasp. And damn, those dishes were impeccably seasoned.

Now, Jason's finally got his own kitchen. About time! Can't wait to try his food at Bastille.

SW: What was your earliest memory of food?

Jason: I remember eating cottage cheese as a toddler! Large curd, or maybe it was just large in comparison.

Where'd you get your start in the professional kitchen?

Flagstaff House in Boulder, Colo. I was 19 and would come in three hours early, off the clock, to get my station set up. Chef would tell me leeringly in French that I would be making potato lattice all summer long.

Bastille has its own garden, and farm-to-table seems so trendy. Why should diners care?

Mostly because it builds community and helps preserve agriculture.

What's the latest best seller on your menu?

Rabbit pate with pickled young fennel and violet mustard has made a strong showing lately. We make the mustard.

I know you're psyched about the socca. Tell us about the history of that flatbread.

This specialty hails from southwest France, centered in and around Nice. It was conceived out of necessity due to the fact that until the middle of the 20th century there were regions of France whose residents had never tasted, had access to, or could afford wheat. Other types of flours where commonly used to make these unleavened breads, like buckwheat and chickpea.

Check back for part two of this week's Grillaxin for more with chef Jason Stoneburner.

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