Compliments of the Chef with Jimmy Bannos Jr.

Compliments of the Chef with Jimmy Bannos Jr.

This week, Chefs Feed met up with renowned chef Bannos at his restaurant The Purple Pig in Chicago's Near North Side.

November 7, 2013
CF: I'm best known for my _______ style of cooking but I can make one hell of a _______.
JBJ: nose-to-tail; bucatini all'amatriciana

CF: A few words your sous chef would use to describe you.
JBJ: Full of perseverance, very persistent, and never satisfied. They'd also say I have a crazy attention to detail; I catch everything.

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant?
JBJ: We just installed a new temperature-controlled meat-curing walk-in cooler, so just about all of our cured meats are made in-house now. Right now we're doing Mangalitsa lardo, capicola, bresaola, lonza, ‘nduja, pancetta (not cooked, cured all the way through), guanciale, finocchiona, and soppressata.

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with?
JBJ: Right now I'm really intrigued by Chris Cosentino. I've never met him or had the chance to eat anything from him, but I'd love to. That guy thinks outside the box.

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for diners.
JBJ: We like to tell our guests to not be afraid to try dishes that might be unfamiliar to them, nor should they refrain from ordering a dish because it has an ingredient they think they don't like. They might be pleasantly surprised. This applies to both our food and wine lists. My motto for dining at The Purple Pig is, "Go for the ride."

CF: Is there anything you don't like?
JBJ: No. There is really nothing I dislike (well, as far as I know).

CF: Message to professional food critics.
JBJ: Wait a little longer than three weeks to review a restaurant. I have so much more appreciation now for all the work and drive that goes into making a place grow and continue to develop—it takes a while. How can you judge a place so soon? It's like a sports writer trying to judge a professional athlete during pre-season. You've got to give them at least two to three months.

CF: One piece of advice for aspiring young chefs.
JBJ: Go somewhere and work for peanuts for somebody that's really, really f-cking good. Put your time in and don't concern yourself with your "schedule." You literally need to sacrifice your whole life for a couple years. When you're in a kitchen where some extremely special things are going on, you cannot put a price tag on that. And remember, being young is important, too. Unfortunately, money does matter in your 30s, but you can easily get by living paycheck to paycheck in your 20s.

CF: Thick or thin patty?
JBJ: Thick.

CF: Favorite fro-yo combo?
JBJ: Chocolate with Butterfinger on top. Actually, that's always my combo, even for ice cream.

CF: What's for family meal tonight?
JBJ: Rigatoni with leftover pork neck bone gravy.