It may have seemed like a surprise to the outside world when lauded chef David Kinch promoted the 26 year-old Jessica Largey to the top kitchen position, chef de cuisine, at his two-star Michelin restaurant Manresa two years ago. But to those who are familiar with her work and trajectory—three years at LA's Providence, at that point three years at Manresa, and stints at the Fat Duck, Bastide Restaurant, and LAMILL Coffee Boutique—the choice was an obvious one.
Roving TV host Andrew Zimmern, who worked for a day with Largey, says she is "above and beyond 99.99% of her peers." Meanwhile her boss Kinch thinks that she will be "an inspiration and positive force in our industry for years to come." Ahead, see what else they have to say about this young and talented woman.
David Kinch, chef-proprietor Manresa:
Andrew Zimmern, host Bizarre Foods: "If you put a gun to my head and said pick one person, of all the young chefs that I've met in the last year, I am most impressed by her. 27 years old, classically trained, has been in the kitchen at Manresa for several years and was most recently named chef de cuisine there. First of all to be David Kinch's second in command at a restaurant touted and recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world in everyone's book, to have someone that young in charge of the place, not just as a chef but as a leader is impressive. I spent a day in the kitchen at Manresa and at the end of the day I looked at David and I said, 'Is it just me or is that lady un-fucking-believable?' And he said that she is so tough and such a great leader, besides being a spectacular culinarian. She's got great technique, great leadership skills, and is just from a culinary standpoint above and beyond 99.99% of her peers. Her job is one that some people spend 20 years in the business trying to get."
Dominique Crenn, chef/proprietor Atelier Crenn: "She's great. I don't know her personally but I know her because I know David really well and I've been hanging out a lot with David. David is someone who loves working with women. He thinks that they have different sensitivities than men and I think it's admirable to have a chef like him acknowledge that. Already I know this girl is going to go far...Honestly I don't think a lot of people know about her yet, but they should. We need to add some women names. David is a great mentor and he has mentored unbelievable people."