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Bitch at Us: Jamie Kenyon of Lupa

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Behind every perfectly curated plate is a person behind the scenes slaving over ovens and managing confined spaces, over very little sleep and a lot of pressure. As a food blogger, I post a lot more restaurant love than chef love, so I’m thrilled to introduce you all to Jamie Kenyon, a young rising star in the industry and someone I’m proud to call my friend.

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Jamie has quite the resume for his surprisingly young age of 26- he started his career at Daniel, arguably one of the best restaurants in the world, and then moved on to join Mario Batali’s empire at Manzo in Eataly. Turning down Sous Chef at the impressive age of 24, he left to follow his dreams and helped open Perla, which has received overwhelming accolades and a massive wait list ever since.

From there, in a flurry of only a year and a half, he opened Montmartre, The Peacock, and Barchetta alongside several notable chefs, paving the way for their success. Jamie most recently joined Mario Batali’s team at Lupa, an established Italian restaurant in the West Village, as their Sous Chef. Impressed yet?

Things we love besides his English accent (he’s from Manchester), ability to make foie tea gras cookies (trust us), minor obsession for football (the non-American kind), and his winning title at the Texas Meatopia competition against over a dozen other hand-chosen world-class chefs? Find out below!

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It’s a Saturday morning and you’re not working today. What’s the first half of your day looking like?

Quite simple, really. Off to Nevada Smith’s for a pint and some football. Bagels always follow football.

Say you’re feeling inspired to wake up and cook an inventive brunch for your girlfriend after your 12-hour shift the night before. What do you make?

I’m not going to lie to you, this doesn’t happen often.. but when it does, I keep it simple. Maybe some seasoned ricotta cheese with prosciutto and scrambled eggs. Maybe some homemade yogurt with fresh fruit on the side.

You forgot an alcoholic brunch beverage. Mimosa or Bloody, what’s your poison?

Mimosa. Try to keep it classy in the morning.

Brunch in or out?

Out. Can’t get my girlfriend too used to me cooking at home!

You mentioned before that you’re a family guy and you go home to Basking Ridge, NJ often. What’s your brunch tradition at home?

What every full-blooded Englishman dreams about. Bacon, fried eggs, sausage, baked beans, whole plum tomatoes, and a liberal application of HP sauce. For anyone who doesn’t know what HP sauce is, go to your closest specialty market and buy a bottle- you can thank me later.

What’s your inside scoop on the best brunch place in the city?

For me, it’s Ippudo. I would marry one of their pork buns.

Jamie explaining the meat course

What’s the best thing about working at Lupa?

The best part about working at Lupa is trying to master the pasta program. I remember walking in to Lupa and thinking that it wasn’t my cup of tea. The second I tasted the menu, my opinion completely changed. A lot of Lupa’s pastas have been on the menu for 15 years. I’m still learning how they’ve gotten it right for so long.

You’ve been following your culinary dreams since you moved here. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to have my own restaurant where I can cook the food that inspires me. In a fairly short time I’ve had the chance to work with some really great Chefs and have witnessed firsthand how much passion and hard work it takes to make that dream a reality. One day, I hope to get that opportunity.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t be afraid to try something new, as long as it’s not cooked by your “ex”…

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