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Chef Jackie Carnesi Brings Her South Texas Spirit to an Iconic Brooklyn Diner

We’re celebrating exceptional girls within the worlds of meals and design all through Ladies Are Wonderful Month (aka Ladies’s Historical past Month, Food52-style). Is there a girl we needs to be profiling? Tell us.

Shortly after Jackie Carnesi arrived in New York Metropolis recent out of culinary faculty, she grew to become a fixture at one in all Brooklyn’s largest restaurant empires, Roberta’s. She’s been tapped to steer equally spectacular eating places ever since. Following Roberta’s, Jackie grew to become government chef at Nura, the place she filtered her expertise and South Texas upbringing—she grew up on Tex-Mex and Mexican cooking, alongside the Southern staples of her Tennessee mother—via the lens of Indian delicacies. Although this was unfamiliar terrain on the time, she gladly, simply met the problem (Nura grew to become a Michelin-recommended restaurant below her helm).

Now, she is about to go the kitchen of the previous, iconic Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose new menu will characteristic Tex-Mex and basic diner fare. As she prepares for its much-anticipated reopening this spring, Jackie—who is rarely one to withstand flexing and stretching her abilities—is concurrently accountable for the nightly menu at Pan Pan Vino Vino, a brand new bakery/wine bar from the Nura crew. In between this enterprise, perfecting her flour tortillas for Kellogg’s, and her busy household life—she affectionately calls 5-year-old boy, Hunter, the “gentle of my life and full-time wild animal”—she took a second to inform us in regards to the girls who encourage her and the way she’s feeling in regards to the problem that awaits her.

How does being a girl affect your work?

Jackie: I undoubtedly assume that being a girl within the business has had an impact on my work, largely as a supervisor. I feel it has offered me a degree of empathy for individuals who have perhaps not had it really easy on this business, however I additionally assume I’ve numerous affect on my profession from being a mother. It is taught me numerous persistence and understanding and vice versa—being a chef has taught me easy methods to preserve a cool head when your child is having a mood tantrum. I’ve realized a lot from each side of my life.

Who’re the ladies that encourage you in your business?

I am continuously impressed by girls on this business, whether or not cooks like Chef Aretah Ettarh over at Gramercy Tavern, or Chef Ryoko Yoshida at Marlow & sons and Diner, or Cooks Sam Brief and Tajeh Porter as pastry chef and head chef, respectively, at Nura. I really feel so grateful to be inside a circle of wonderful feminine cooks like Sohla El-Waylly, who is also so inspiring to me. She’s so deep rooted in her values and so vocal about that.

What’s essentially the most troublesome a part of having a inventive profession?

I might say that the toughest a part of being in a inventive area, particularly in New York Metropolis, is making an attempt to maintain up with all the opposite wonderful cooks which are placing out a lot lovely meals that is actually progressive. It is very easy to get caught up in the concept that you are alleged to continuously be creating, and never simply creating, however creating one thing new that folks have by no means seen earlier than, and that is a very excessive bar to carry your self to.

Jackie outdoors of Kellogg’s, set to open in late spring 2024.

Picture by Carissa Diaz

How will you juggle work between Pan Pan Vino Vino and Kellogg’s?

Pan Pan Vino Vino was at all times meant to be a short-term factor, extra of a seek the advice of gig, however I care so deeply for and have such an awesome working relationship with the crew there, I’ll make myself accessible in no matter capability they want me, whether or not that’s menu updates or coaching new employees or no matter.

What would be the problem of working Kellogg’s in comparison with the problem of Nura, the place you needed to train your self easy methods to prepare dinner via an Indian lens?

Making a Tex-Mex menu has been thrilling for numerous causes, however primarily as a result of it’s the prospect to prepare dinner meals that’s so near my coronary heart and jogs my memory a lot of my hometown. Bringing that consolation right into a metropolis that I’ve made my dwelling could be very gratifying.

It’s difficult in methods Nura wasn’t. At Nura, there was the joy of studying as a lot as I might a few culinary panorama that I wasn’t so aware of (Indian delicacies) via a lens of a culinary panorama I used to be very aware of (Mexican delicacies), and naturally there was immense stress to do it properly, however the level was additionally to create one thing new, and non-traditional, and that got here with a certain quantity of freedom.

With Kellogg’s, the mixture of Mexican and Tex-Mex, which has such an extended historical past, has to dwell as much as extra outlined expectations. There’s a unique taste of stress concerned and a few of that’s from my very own background and culinary expertise. At Nura, the bar was extraordinarily excessive, however making an attempt to recreate your mother’s or your grandma’s migas or flour tortillas? That’s private.

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