From scrambling eggs as a kid to taking center stage at Los Gatos’ Manresa, chef Jessica Largey has certainly made a name for herself in the culinary world. And after being nominated for the 2014 James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, we decided to head to San Francisco’s Bay Area to get to know this fine-dining superstar.
Largey credits her foray into the kitchen to culinary lessons from both her mother and grandmother. By learning simple techniques like scrambling eggs and making fresh pasta, the women instilled in Largey a passion for food and cooking at an early age. Largey later went on to attend the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, which landed her an internship at Providence in Los Angeles. From there, Largey traveled across the pond and staged at Heston Blumenthal’s iconic English restaurant, The Fat Duck.
After returning to Los Angeles, Largey was introduced to chef David Kinch where the two realized their culinary synergy while shucking hundreds of raw mussels. Today, Largey is Kinch’s right hand woman as Manresa’s chef de cuisine. With an incredible attention to detail and a respect for the natural flavors of food, Largey has helped drive Manresa to the top of California’s food scene.
Other nominees of this year’s James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award presented by S.Pellegrino include up-and-coming chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of The Purple Pig, Chicago; Katie Button of Curate, Asheville, NC; David Posey of Blackbird, Chicago; and Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, WA.
The James Beard Foundation Awards are presented each spring at Lincoln Center in New York City, and represent the highest honors for food and beverage professionals working in North America. This year, the Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner will take place on May 2. The Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony will be held on May 5. For tickets and information, visit the James Beard Foundation website.