Jeremy Ford – Bravo’s Top Chef Season 13 Winner

Jeremy Ford is the Chef de Cuisine of Matador Room in Miami Beach, FL, as well as the winner of Top Chef 13. Ford had an early start in the kitchen, taking his first job as garde manager at Matthews, a four-diamond Mediterranean style restaurant, at the age of 16. His passion for culinary work ignited, he moved to Los Angeles at 17, taking a job in French establishment L-Orangerie. The language barrier forced him to develop keen observation skills which have been the foundation of his education, as he has had no formal schooling, finding on-the-job learning and one-on-one mentorship more compelling. Outside of the food world, Ford enjoys jiu jitsu, heavy metal music, and the word “dude.”

What do you think is the main difference between Western style and Japanese style knives?
I was introduced to Japanese knives in California, when I was working at L’Orangerie. I love the thinness of the blade. It is much easier to retain a sharp edge. My most recent favorite is my Nenox orange handle knives, but my favorite changes every time I visit Korin. I probably have a dozen Korin knives now. There is no comparison to Japanese knives regarding the blade. It’s a different breed of knife.

What is your advice for aspiring chefs?
The most important part in the beginning is definitely reading. When I was cooking in Michelin star restaurants, I always left work after about fourteen hours, and for the first five years I was going home and reading. You need to learn the forefront, the basics of where your ingredients come from and how much love and care goes into farming those ingredients you’re using. Your day shouldn’t end at one in the morning after clocking out if you’re not done. You should go home and try to recap your day for an hour or so.

What is your philosophy on hospitality?
When we first began at the Matador Room, we had some struggles at the front of the house as any restaurant in Miami does. One of Chef Jean-Georges’ right hand men, Chef Daniel Divecchio, opened up my eyes to a whole new side to being a chef. He came through the dining room one day and noticed that some of our roses had wilted. He asked, “Do you know why that happens? It’s because no one put these in the fridge last night.” It made me second guess everything I knew about the front of the house, and now whenever I walk through the dining room I see things in a whole new different light. There are so many different aspects of hospitality that he has opened my eyes up to.

2017 Korin Knife Catalog