Nosh Talk: Jason Kwon, Chef, Joshu-ya Brasserie

JASON KWON/METRO
Jason Kwon at work at Joshu-ya Brasserie in Berkeley. Photo: Metro

Nosh Talk is a regular Q&A with an East Bay chef, restaurateur or food artisan, published on Berkeleyside Nosh, in which we snoop for inside intelligence…

What is always in your refrigerator?
Kimchi and brie – the true signature of a Korean-American chef.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
Ever since opening The Bleecker Bistro, I’ve become a little obsessed with eggs. Bacon, eggs and cheese is usually the go-to dish. It’s terrible for the body, but when you are a little inebriated, being healthy is the last thing on your mind.

Where/what do you eat on your day off?
I work seven days a week, but on the rare occasion that I do dine out, it’s usually Gary Danko or Boulevard. Those cooks know what’s up. Alice Waters does a pretty damn good job as well!


Do you have a secret ‘junk food’ vice?
I can’t believe that I’m publicly admitting this, but my ‘junk food’ vice is Taco Bell. As delicious as it tastes, my system can only handle it once a year. It’s my crack cocaine.

Any food you can’t stand?
I can eat anything, but I can’t stand balut [ duck embryo].  I can’t get over how it looks.

What is your fantasy ‘last meal?’
Nobody prepares a feast like my mama. Whenever she cooks, it always feels like a ‘last meal.’

What ingredient is overused and needs to be retired?
A menu that mentions truffle oil might as well read, “MSG – Stay away!”

What is the next big thing?
Whatever is in season. Pork is still huge, and there’s an obvious reason for that. Pork is the ultimate comfort food.

Your favorite special meal to cook?
Housemade ravioli stuffed with duck confit and ricotta, sauced with a chanterelle vermouth cream sauce.

Favorite restaurant in the world?
Joshu-ya Brasserie, of course. It’s my baby.


Who would you like to have dinner with (alive or dead)?
Gordon Ramsay.

A food tip/secret/ to share with readers?
Chefs aren’t magicians. Food tastes good because of the ingredients. Once the quality of the ingredients are compromised, one might as well settle for mediocrity.

Jason Kwon is the chef-owner of Joshu-ya Brasserie, The Bleecker Bistro, and Eat Savory Catering. Kwon has appeared on the Food Network and his latest book, ‘Kitchen Barbarians,’ will published later this year fall by Charles Pinot. 

Read previous Nosh Talks:

Hugh Groman, Phil’s Sliders [02.25.13]
Suzanne Drexhage: Bartavelle [02.06.13]
Rebecca Bernstein, Oggi Restaurant & Wine Bar [01.15.13]
Scott Miller: Market Hall Foods [01.07.13]
Fabrizio Cercatore: Hot Italian [12.24.12]
Rick Hackett, Bocanova [12.03.12]
Matt Gandin, Comal [11.14.12]

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