Jeremy Hoffman, an Eater Young Gun semi-finalist and the chef de cuisine at high-end Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, VA wasted no time in moving up the ladder. He graduated the Culinary Institute of America in 2005, worked for one year at Drew Nieporent's Nobu 57 in Manhattan, worked as a commis and then as a chef de partie at Thomas Keller's famed Per Se for two years, and was named chef de cuisine at Restaurant Eve after just one year of working every station in the kitchen.
Since executive chef Cathal Armstrong oversees a small empire of restaurants in the area, Hoffman is an essential part of Restaurant Eve, which earned four stars from the Washington Post and an anniversary visit from the Obamas.
See what his friends, co-workers, and fans have to say about Hoffman ahead.
Cathal Armstrong, executive chef and co-owner, Restaurant Eve:
Jonathan Benno, executive chef, Lincoln Ristorante: "Jeremy came to us as a young cook and really excelled quickly in the kitchen. He had all of the characteristics you need: integrity, work ethic, humility, sense of humor—he really shines in all of those areas. I remember how disappointed and how nervous he was when he came to talk to me to give notice. He and his now wife decided they were going to move to Virginia. I think it was a tough a decision for him because he didn't feel like he was done with New York or Per Se and I said 'Why don't I call Cathal?'
The greatest testament to his work ethic and drive is that he went down there and was able to get a job, quickly proved himself to Cathal and is now the chef de cuisine of a fine dining restaurant. What a great story, an ambitious young guy who found his way in and through all of these great kitchens and personally and professionally was able to move down to Alexandria and find another great mentor."
LaMont Mitchell, Executive Sous Chef, Redwood Bethesda: "I worked with Jeremy Hoffman for 2 years at Restaurant Eve. I learned more from him than any other chef I've ever worked for. In my personal opinion, he's one of the top 5 chefs in the D.C. area. He leads by example, first one in and the last to leave. Never asks you to do anything that he wouldn't do himself. Super creative and very humble. If you asked me what chef I would want to work with, I'd choose him every time."
Edward Lee, chef/owner, Milkwood and 610 Magnolia: "It's one thing to go to the East Village in New York and get good food where you expect, but Alexandria is not the culinary center of the world. But it's really nice and surprising and pleasant. It's one thing if you're doing something in a city where you're expected to be innovative, it's another thing to try to do that where no one's expecting it... the meal there is as good as anything I've had in Chicago before. Really attentive service, really polished."
Craig Erion, Service Director and Sommelier, Restaurant Eve: "I have worked with Jeremy for over five years. His work ethic is rivaled only by his talent in the kitchen. Chef Hoffman is the first to be in the kitchen in the morning and last to leave at night. This is without exception. He came to Restaurant Eve and had to fill some very big shoes. Namely, Chef Armstrong's. In doing so he has maintained our four stars from the Washington Post and, in my opinion, is responsible for many beautiful and delicious additions to the menu. His style of cooking seamlessly intertwines plate aesthetics with depth of flavor and flawless technique. Skills, that were fostered in his year plus of service at Per Se in New York city and honed in his leadership role as Chef de Cuisine here at Restaurant Eve. Outside of work, he is the best dad I know to his son Parker and a devoted husband. He is also going to be my Best Man at my wedding so I am little biased when it comes hyping him."
Eater reader: "I worked under Chef Hoffman during my culinary school externship. Chef Jeremy, as we called him, is a superb chef and leader. I always was amazed at the dishes he would create and the way in which he executed them. He was by far the best—and fastest—chef in the kitchen, but never let it go to his head. He never asks anyone to do something that he would not do and has an extraordinary amount of patience. I know there were many times that I tested his patience as a novice in the kitchen, but he always was respectful and made sure I learned from my mistakes.
There are far too many people in the restaurant business with egos, and oftentimes they don't truly have the skills to justify those egos. Chef Jeremy has every justification to have an inflated ego, but he does not. He gets the best out of his chefs without having to belittle them. His chefs respect him because he truly is the best chef in the Restaurant Eve kitchen."
[Photo: Restaurant Eve]