q & a with chef jonathon sawyer

After working at several well-respected restaurants, including Michael Symon’s Lolita and Parea, Kitchen 22 and The Biltmore, Chef Jonathon Sawyer, a Cleveland native, has decided to open up his own place, Gastropub, the first nationally certified green restaurant in Ohio. While he is in the process of securing a location and hammering out the details, you can find him at Bar Cento, which will be adjacent to Bier Market in Ohio City this October, where he will be the partner/chef. According to Sawyer, the menu will be rustic featuring modern & traditional brick oven pizza’s as well as entree selections. Cento will also offer ‘cento vino’ (100 wines) to accompany each dish.

1. The top 5 spices that are a must in every kitchen:
black pepper, sea salt, crushed red chili flake, whole nutmeg,
anchovies (I know this isn’t a spice but I use it like it is one)

2. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to make:
My favorite thing to make is pasta dough. It is very therapeutic which I need every now and then in the kitchen. My least favorite thing to make is anything partially hydrogenised containing high fructose corn syrup or involving a microwave.

3. If you could cook for one person, real or dead, who would it be:
Winston Churchill. He was a man of passion; I admire passion.

4. You’re having a dinner party, what are the top 5 songs on your play list:
Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
Clap Your Hands & Say Yeah – Skin on My Yellow Teeth

The Darkness – love what you’ve done with your hair
David Bowie – Oh! You Pretty Things
Blind Melon – Mother

5. Favorite restaurant in Cleveland:
Considering Symon is one of my best friends…Lola

6. What restaurant do you miss:
I miss Franny’s in Brooklyn horribly. Michelin trained chef settles down with wife to have a family and opens rustic style pizza joint on Flatbush Ave. My wife, son and I lived a block away and spent a good portion of our income there.

7. What is your favorite thing about Cleveland and what drives you nuts:
My favorite thing about Cleveland is the Cuyahoga National Valley Park and the produce and proteins that are produced in it. What makes me crazy is local chefs that source there ingredients from Holland, Japan, or California when we have everything needed right here in our city.

8. Most famous person you have cooked for:
The most famous person that I have ever cooked for would have to be Tom Hanks. My favorite famous person to cook for is most definitely Jimmy Fallon. He is hilarious and way fun to hang out with and rock out karaoke after a long night in the kitchen.

9. Most unusual food you have ever tried:
100-year-old egg, chicken sashimi, raw octopus, bear meat and raw milk two-year-old cave aged butter


10. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing:
I would probably be a farmer or forger or a barfly in New Orleans.

11. What hidden café/restaurant have Clevelanders yet to discover:
2182 Bistro in Brecksville

12. Can Cleveland ever be in the same league as Chicago and NYC in terms of culinary offerings? What do we have to do to change this perception and be on that level?
I don’t think you can compare the culinary landscapes to each other. There are too many factors that don’t match up i.e pedestrian vs. commuter, sheer size of cities, average income, industry, etc…

I would hope that Cleveland would cultivate its own narrative thread similar to that of Napa Valley or the Pacific Northwest where ingredient worship is more important that the man behind the dish.
For Cleveland to become known for its gastronomy, the people need to realize and embrace the greatness of our city. Although Cleveland is not as large as some other culinary greats, we do have the resources at our fingertips to make amazing food and cuisine. We just need to utilize them. Since moving back from NYC, I have unearthed more local and indigenous ingredients than I could have ever expected to find in Cleveland. The perception that needs to be changed is that these bigger cities are better than Cleveland. Frankly that’s not true. Cleveland has the potential and has already reached its own level of culinary greatness. We just need to look locally for what the future of our culinary landscape should and will be.

I love that answer – thanks, chef!

15 Comments

  1. George Nemeth
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Gotta tell you, Michelle, I love this series. I particularly like the “What hidden café/restaurant have Clevelanders yet to discover” question. Keep up the good work!

  2. michelle v
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    wow, really appreciate that. thank you.

  3. misike1@sbcglobal.net
    Posted August 30, 2007 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    love the local food reference the next big wave is to help develop local farmers supply line into restaurants and institutional kitchens to expand the volume of local food consumed locally.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 19, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    2182 is a pretentious place. Extremely ostentatious for the knowledge and excellence they certainly don’t have. Don’t waste your time or money- the owners certanly don’t deserve either of mine. It’s certainly NOT a hidden gem in Cleveland.

  5. yo mama
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Disgruntled former employee?

  6. Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Unquestionably believe that which you stated.
    Your favorite justification seemed to be at the
    web the easiest factor to consider of. I say to you, I
    definitely get aannoyed whilst people think about worries that they plainly do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal.

    Will likely be again to get more. Thanks

  7. Posted December 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Hello! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?

    My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a
    theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

  8. Posted December 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Hello to every body, it’s my first visit of this webpage; this web site contains
    remarkable and genuinely fine data in support of visitors.

  9. Posted December 19, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost
    moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how youu presented it.

    Too cool!

  10. Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading
    it, you will be a great author. I will make sure too boookmark your blog and may
    come back in the foreseeable future. I want
    to encourage continue your great job, have a nice
    evening!

  11. Posted December 20, 2013 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this website needs a lot more attention.
    I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for
    the info!

  12. Posted December 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I have be aware your stuff previous to and you’re simply
    too fantastic. I really like what you’ve received rjght here, really like what you are stating
    and the way wherein you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you continue
    to care for to keep it sensible. I cant wait to learn far more from you.
    That is really a tremendous site.

  13. Posted December 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to
    be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries
    that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon
    the top as well as defined out the whole thing without
    having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get
    more. Thanks

  14. Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally
    educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit
    the nail on the head. The problem is somethng that too few people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy I came across thus during my hunt for something regarding this.

  15. Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to
    rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing
    very good success. If you know of any please share.

    Cheers!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*