Chef’s Thoughts: Jonathan Jerusalmy, Resort Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Programming, Sea island, Sea Island, Ga.
As one of only 350 Master French Chefs in the world, Jonathan Jerusalmy is responsible for overseeing the concept and design of culinary operations at Georgia’s Sea Island Resort. Prior to arriving at Sea Island, he served as the Executive Chef of the St. Regis Atlanta, and his background also includes stints as the Executive Sous Chef of the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Executive Banquet Chef and Executive Sous Chef at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Florida, and Chef de Partie at Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys in San Francisco. At the start of his career, Jerusalmy completed several prominent internships at Michelin-rated restaurants in France, studying under the Master Chef of France, Paul Bocuse, as well as Chef Gerard Boyer.
1. You’d be surprised to learn that I am an avid Bruce Springsteen fan. Growing up, he was the only artist I listened to. (His music is now officially banned at my parents’ house!) His songs helped me to learn English, but, more importantly, “Born to Run” inspired me to pack my bags and travel the world.
2. If I could trade places with one chef it would be Paul Bocuse.
3. One of my most memorable meals was at Eleven Madison Park in New York. The level of perfection and the attention to detail in both food and service during my 14-course tasting was beyond anything I had experienced up to that point.
4. My go-to drink is tea.
5. My last meal would be my mum’s lasagna.
6. My worst culinary creation was a blue cheese crème brûlée. It was heavy and sweet and probably the worst thing ever made.
7. Jelly beans are my favorite junk food.
8. I knew I wanted to be a chef when I was 14, working as a server in my grandfather’s restaurant. I gradually moved into the kitchen where I loved spending time with him, learning his technique. He prepared simple food, but put his heart and soul into every dish. He taught me the basics and some of the most important life lessons like the value of hard work, the importance of taking the time to do things right, teamwork, and respect for my heritage.
9. The most ridiculous member or guest request I’ve ever had was when a guest ordered a glass of warm water and two leaves of lettuce as a “meal.”
10. Butter is my favorite ingredient, caviar is the most overrated ingredient, and salt is the most undervalued ingredient.
11. I would like to see clubs and resorts be less conservative and more innovative with their culinary programs.
12. I cook tofu at home, but I’d never cook it at Sea Island.
13. My biggest mistake when I first started as a chef was impatience. Good food takes time.