courtesy of: The Morning News
By Rosalie Klein
L.G. Smith Steak and Chop House in the Renaissance Mall welcomed celebrity Chef Michelle Brown, owner of the famed Jag’s Steak and Seafood of West Chester, Ohio to mentor their culinary staff and devise a special limited-time gourmet menu, now being offered just in time for Mother’s Day.
While on island, Michelle collaborated with Elizabeth Wunderflich of the U.S. Meat Export Federation and Woody Ham of Buckhead Beef, out of Atlanta, Georgia, to present an enlightening afternoon for island chefs and restaurant owners about how to enliven their menus and learn the newest trends preparing beef and other meats. All the beef dishes deploy U.S. Certified Angus Beef, and Chef Brown explained after long study and testing, she found it the most consistent for quality and taste.
Chef Brown, a Cincinnati native, originally was intending to be a teacher, but discovered her true calling while working at the Banker’s Club as a valet and had to clock in at the kitchen on her first day of work.
“The white jackets, the stern looking chef, the camaraderie….I fell in love. It took me a couple of months to be hired in the kitchen, and then Executive Chef Jon York took me under his wing and still today, he is my mentor and friend.” She spent three years in San Francisco honing her skills before returning to Cincinnati to become the Executive Chef of Beckett Ridge Country Club, eventually opening Jag’s in 2003, which was an instant success competing against quite a few more conveniently located steakhouses.
She discussed the challenges confronting most owner/ chefs face in these financially troubling times: working profitably while maintaining quality, a subject about which she is adamant. “It is a restaurant’s downfall when they begin to compromise quality and consistency,” she told the gathering. Her lecture included strategies to “fill the house,” looking at ways to prepare less expensive cuts and meats that are just as tasty and appealing as traditionally expensive meats, and the aspect of downsizing, “updressing” and exploring all the options to maintain a profit, but still please the patrons.