Today’s spotlight shines on Chef de Cuisine Jason Landon Smith at Steak 954 at W Fort Lauderdale. I met Jason a number of times at various Food and Wine events but finally had the chance to actually have a conversation with him at John Offerdahl’s Grid Iron Grill Off last November where Jason was one of the chefs participating in the competition. Chef Smith’s dish, Slow Grilled Beef Short Ribs with an Apple Slaw and Celery Root Puree was one of the winning dishes.
The one striking quality about Chef Smith you sense the first time you meet him is his genuineness. Chef Smith has worked with some very talented chefs and in some very highly regarded restaurants while building his résumé. Jason has paid his dues and now at the helm of a big name restaurant, with big responsibility one would think Jason Landon Smith would lose his Midwest ease but if anything his great success has grounded him even more. Chef Smith doesn’t take himself too seriously but definitely takes his craft very seriously and you’ll read that loud and clear through his answers. Readers, I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight: Jason Landon Smith, Chef de Cuisine at Steak 954 at W Fort Lauderdale.
South Florida Food and Wine: Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: I get my culinary inspiration from my friends that are chefs, from my sous chefs, from books, tv, childhood, past restaurants
South Florida Food and Wine: When did you realize that cooking was your passion?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: I have always cooked from scratch since I was a child, and I worked in a friends restaurant and after a couple of weeks knew that was what I wanted to do. It was kind of a natural progression. From fresh chickens and veggies on my farm to fresh proteins and veggies in a nice resto.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite item on your menu?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: I have two favorites. Local snapper tirradito with aji amarillo, and braised beef short rib eggs benedict on potato pancake.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite dish to make at home?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: Slow cooked bbq pork shoulder.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: A big mamajama piece of foie gras with a late harvest reisling poached pear, a dry aged prime ribeye broiled, roasted cauliflower, cardamom panna cota.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to cook with and why?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: I would love to cook with Alice Waters. I worked for a chef that trained under her and the stories he told me are incredible. New menu everyday using product just picked up from the market. I want to learn from her.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: Bbq baby back ribs
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: Pho 78 a Vietnamese restaurant. I love pho and summer rolls.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: Led Zeppelin to be able to hang out and drink and eat with the best rock band of all time.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Chef Jason Landon Smith: Play with my two boys (4 and 10 months) or customize my Harley, or swim.
Steak 954 is located within the W Fort Lauderdale 401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Click here to read previous Spotlight Interviews