Chef Spotlight – Jason MCLAIN
At the Jonathan Club, Executive Chef Jason McClain has revolutionized the menus and created a phenomenal rooftop herb and vegetable garden that is the talk of the town. For an autumn harvest twist, Chef Jason McClain highlights his Maine Lobster & Sweet Corn Agnolotti that combines the sweetness of the corn with the earthy flavors of shaved chanterelles and truffle nage using a few of his favorite Matfer tools!
As an established Executive Chef, what inspires you?
The freshest of fresh seasonal ingredients. I am so fortunate that I am able to cultivate partnerships with amazing local purveyors whose philosophies match our high standards. Those ingredients allow me to create dishes that appeal to the diverse tastes of the Jonathan Club members.
What is the story behind about your renowned rooftop garden at the Jonathan Club?
This has been an amazing project to do. I love that I can take the freshest of herbs and vegetables straight from our rooftop to our tabletops! The position of the roof has just enough shade and sun to allow the vegetables and herbs to thrive. It’s an urban greenery wonderland that emphasizes the farm to table concept.
You are in charge of all of the dining facilities at the Jonathan Club, from two major venues (downtown and at the beach) as well as private events, large and small. How do you do it?
I have a fantastic team and we all work together to make sure everything we do is a success. They all know I work by three must-do principles that are posted throughout the kitchens. They are: Source the Best Ingredients. Cook with Passion. Taste the Difference. By following these principles, we succeed.
What is it about the Matfer products that make a difference to the outcome of your different entrees?
Matfer products are great! Early in my career, my pastry chef friends all used these incredible whisks that I noticed while I was cooking savory dishes. They were Matfer. I started using the whisks and the spatulas and then the pans in my preparations and everything came out perfectly. The items are durable and classic yet modern. If you want the best outcome you need to start with the best of everything from the tools to the ingredients.
What are your favorite Matfer must-have tools?
My must-have and go to Matfer tools are the Rigid Whisk and the Aluminum Non-stick baking sheet. Also, the Exoglass® Pelton Spatula – it is durable, lightweight an easy to use!
What was an essential part of the process when creating your Maine Lobster & Sweet Corn Agnolotti dish?
The drying rack was such a simple yet perfect tool to make perfect pasta. The air-drying prevents the pasta sheets from sticking which makes cutting the squares for the fresh agnolotti so much easier. And then when stuffed and sealed, the pasta is soft and delicate before cooking. The grater curled my chanterelles beautifully!
What is your favorite entrée to prepare?
I love crafting great food with terrific fresh from the garden vegetables and herbs. Besides the Maine Lobster & Sweet Corn Agnoloti, I’d have to say Surf and Turf is fun to do because I get to prepare the best of both, a hand selected Waygu Filet or Dry Aged Rib Eye with a Crab Cake or ½ Main Lobster. And the members love the combo whether downtown or at the Beach.
The poet William Blake became famous for the quote” The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest” Do you agree?
Absolutely! I have the best job in the world. I am very thankful. I love creating dishes for the Jonathan Club members that are creative as well as classic using prime ingredients. I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
More about Jason McClain
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Jason McClain, Jonathan Club Executive Chef, creates unique and delicious dining experiences for members to enjoy. He has earned high accolades during his tenure at the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Philadelphia, as Chef de Cuisine at the Four Seasons restaurant Fifty-Seven Fifty Seven, as Chef/Owner of 8 ½ his restaurant in Miami Beach, and as Assistant Executive Chef at MGM Grand Resort. At the Jonathan Club, he has revolutionized the menus and created a phenomenal rooftop herb and vegetable garden that is the talk of the town.