Interviews

The Scullery: Chef Jonathan Stories

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Chef Jonathan E!$mann told me a couple stories while I was shooting Behind The Line at his restaurant, I don't know how googlable he wants them to be, if he wants them associated with his name or with his restaurant, so major identifying elements, name, restaurant, and image have been obscured. All stories are true and related verbatim from my notes.

New Times: Any fights in the kitchen?

Chef Jonathan: Yea, I seen a lot of those. I was in one myself.

This was years ago. It was a Thai guy. I told him to season three different pans three different ways. He thought I was crazy, but I was right and he got pissed. He came in the office with a big knife just tryin' to scare me. It was a tiny office and there was nowhere I could turn so I'm just stuck with him there right in front of me and I swing at him, but I miss, so I'm goin' "Oh shit, this guys gonna fuckin' stab me," so I head butt the motherfucker as hard as I can and right away he grabs his head and he's just goin' "Aaah" and walks out. I almost cracked my head open.

One year I caught the state wrestling champ of Florida stealing steaks, on New Year's Eve. I fired him on the spot. The kid was built like this [Chef raises his shoulders, drops his neck and widens his arms], big kid. So he looks at me like, tryin' to get tough with me, and I just nah, I told I'm get the fuck out, I had like 30 guys in there woulda mopped the floor with him.

NT: You ever catch anyone fucking in the kitchen?

CF: I'm married with kids, but let's just say dry storage used to be famous for certain acts with friendly girls.

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Jacob Katel