Chef of the Month: Chef Jason McGarry of Central

Name: Chef Jason McGarry

Name of Restaurant: Central

Restaurant Address: 129 Coosa Street, Montgomery, AL 36104

Restaurant Phone Number: (334) 571-11555

Where were you born and raised?

Brunswick, Georgia.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Cooking with my mom and dad when I was a child. I was always fascinated by the Brunswick Stew and meatloaf my mother would make.

Where did you train to become a chef?

I trained classically at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. I was very fortunate to work under some great chefs that really made me push myself.

What others jobs have you worked within the food industry?

I think every chef that started from the bottom has been a dishwasher at some point. I also was a server as a second job when I was an apprentice.

What does your typical workday involve?

Putting out fires. (Just kidding.) Really it starts at the parking lot, walking to the restaurant and checking to make sure everything is clean—it’s the small details. Then it’s on to checking product from purveyors, making sure everything is up to standard. From there it’s creating some type of lunch special and planning a dinner special with the sous chefs. Lunch lineups & dinner lineups with the staff. Expedite service plan the next few days, go home, and do it all over the next day.

Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?

Well, Oprah was here last month. The Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” (Jonathan Goldsmith) also dined with us recently.

What are your professional goals?

A James Beard Award for Central. I’d also like to open my own restaurant at some point.

If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?

In the mountains—fishing, cooking, and hunting.

If you could cook for with any celebrity of historical figure (living or dead), who would it be?

Auguste Escoffier.

What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?

I mean what’s there to say? It’s close, it’s fresh, and it’s local!

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