In the first installment of our Phase Chronograph Campaign, A Moment Marked, we visit with chef Jeramie Robinson. His culinary journey has taken him to cities like Austin, New York, Houston, and now Dallas. While holding the executive chef position at City Hall Bistro, he has established himself as one of the new culinary talents in the downtown Dallas food scene.
We first stopped by his home in South Dallas, where he shared his culinary background and how he gets started with the day. The second part of our interview took us to City Hall Bistro, a bistro serving European-inspired cuisine. We filmed him in his work environment and discussed his unique approach to cuisine.
What does an average day look like for you?
Jeramie: I’m up no later than 7:00 AM with my daughter. My wife goes to work right at 7:00 so we might get to see her before she heads out. I get my daughter ready for school, get her dressed, get her fed and take her to school. Most days I head straight to the gym where I spend about an hour and half to two hours just gearing up for the day and clearing my mind. I get to the restaurant around 11:00 AM, check in with everyone from the culinary director to the sous chefs. Lately i’ve been spending a lot of time with the progression of the menu at City Hall, so that’s a big part of day, always trying to find a way to make things smoother and create a strong direction for the food.
What do meals at home look like for you?
Jeramie: Mainly I like to whip up a pretty good breakfast for my daughter. When I’m off I try to make things that take the strain off my wife so we can eat on for three or four days, usually it’s a good soup or a casserole. We try to plan something at least once a month where we’ll fire up the grill and have friends over for more of a chef inspired dinner.
I’ve read that your career as a chef has moved you around city to city quite a bit, do you have a favorite? And what is your perception of the industry in Dallas?
Jeramie: As far as moving around, I’ve had a great experience with every city and like them all in their own way. New York was in insane, when I left there I didn't look back. Man I’ll be back to visit but that was the hardest grind, that city’s tough. Houston I think has the strongest food scene but Austin is probably my favorite mainly for the fact of meeting my wife there. I think Dallas is really blowing up right now, there’s a lot opening and there’s more jobs than cooks right now, which is probably one of my bigger struggles. Really just finding talented passionate cooks, but I really think Dallas is on the rise and going in the direction of building a really strong food scene.
For me it’s all about continuing to push myself creatively and cultivating young talent.
What most influences your work?
Jeramie: It was always just about the food and how much I could learn about it and just being creative for a long time but over the last 5 years it’s really been about growing young cooks, and I really enjoy seeing their growth when I see their skill sets start to get stronger that’s a really big motivator. My background is pretty eclectic now from asian, european and now we’re on this mediterranean cuisine. For me it’s all about continuing to push myself creatively and cultivating young talent.
What is your process like when coming up with new cuisine?
Jeramie: At City Hall Bistro It’s really taken about 6 to 8 months to really understand the food we need to be creating because of the kitchen that we have and the style of dining we’re hoping to achieve. But really it starts with learning the flow of the kitchen, the staff that I have and what I know I can execute well there.
Do you have any standard rules when creating your dishes? Any ‘always this’ or ‘never that’?
Jeramie: A standard for me for all dishes comes down to seasonality and balance, can we fill the restaurant and execute this dish consistently whether we have a room of 10 people or 200.
Is there anyone that has acted as a mentor to you or is there a piece of advice you still hang on to?
Jeramie: I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever had a true mentor, but I’ve always been inspired by my dad and his brothers. They’re all really good cooks. I’m the only one that’s gone this route professionally so they’ve always been rooting for me.
What is the most rewarding aspect about your career?
Jeramie: Feeding people and watching them enjoy it. That’s the coolest aspect of City Hall, that it’s open kitchen. I get to watch every dish leave the kitchen and see their expressions when it hits the table. It’s really rewarding when you think of the beginning composition of a dish, building it to train the cooks, finally executing it and getting to see the guests enjoy that process.
When you're not in the kitchen what are some of your favorite things to do?
Jeramie: I think the biggest thing for me is just being outside. I love working on our yard and enjoying time with my family out there. Over the next couple weeks I’ll start kayaking and fishing, I love to get out there on the water.
What is success to you?
Jeramie: Doing what you love to do and being able to check off some of those milestones you thought might never be feasible, that feeling of hard work paying off. Success to me is having balance in the top three to four things in my life, if that's happening then I'm content and peaceful with what I'm doing.