Chef Of The Month Sous Chef Jeff Stone
I was fortune to sit down and interview Sous Chef Jeff Stone. He is working at Cafe Vena at Vinings as the Sous Chef. The food is amazing and I wanted to talk to Jeff about his background and his passion for cooking.
Where did you learn to cook?
I learned to cook in school (B.S., Restaurant Management) from the chef I did my internship with, Todd Hogan formerly of Indigo Restaurant and now Branchwater in Cumming, and working as part of the opening kitchen team for Richard Blais’ restaurant, HD1. I will never be “finished” learning about food and cooking. No one can ever know everything about this crazy industry. I will forever be a student of food and will always respect it.
What do you love to cook?
I love to cook modern-southern food. It is the foundation for my style of cooking. Any chef (and I am no different) will tell you that braising is the ultimate cooking technique. It develops the flavor that is simply difficult to achieve for the home cook. It’s also a difficult thing to teach. When a chef braises something and feeds it to an eager customer and they taste it and say, “mmmmm, how did they do that?”, odds are there was some braising going on.
What is the vision for Cafe Vena food?
Brett’s and my vision for Cafe Vena’s menu is to do our own interpretation of classic Southern cuisine. Yes, we have our staples that we don’t mess with (Bruce’s famous pasta, Momma Vena’s Meatloaf), but if you look closer at the menu you will see upscale southern food done with a modern interpretation.
Who do you love to cook for?
Anyone and everyone. Yes, cooking for friends and family is amazing, but they are an easy audience. They’ll love you no matter what. Pleasing complete strangers and getting a compliment from someone I’ve never met who went out of their way to tell me is the ultimate culinary high.
If money were no object, what would you serve at your ultimate banquet foodie-fest?
Pork belly, Kobe beef and pork belly.
Other interests? Fishing? Foraging? Hunting?
I love longboarding. I live in the heart of downtown and often spend my days off riding the beltline. I’ve been playing golf my entire life, and will always consider it my favorite sport.
Who were your early cooking inspirations? Mom? Dad?
My mother is a sensational cook who inspires me to cook from the heart and make people happy with my food. Additionally, I follow countless chefs on Instagram and through Facebook to see what they are doing and how the culinary scene is evolving.
What is your favorite meal?
This is a tough question. It’s like asking what my favorite band or movie is. If I HAD to pick one thing to eat, it would be a really delicious, simple plate of mashed potatoes.
Restaurant: Cafe Vena at Vinings