EP32: Jeremiah Tower - Becoming the "Last Magnificent" Chef


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What an honor it was to connect with Chef Jeremiah Tower, one of the individuals most responsible for modern restaurants as we know them. Recently, there was a documentary on his life, career, and influence entitled The Last Magnificent, which was produced by Anthony Bourdain and CNN. Chef Jeremiah Tower grew up in an aristocratic family, traveling the world via cruise-liner where he developed the exquisite taste he became known for. After graduating with a Masters in Architecture from Harvard University, Tower found himself accidentally stumbling into the role of executive chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA a bistro he put on the map with his unique style and understanding of cuisine. Tower left Berkeley, went on to bounce around in the early 80's and eventually opened Stars Restaurant in San Francisco in 1984, which quickly became one of the leading restaurants in the country and became the benchmark for the modern restaurant. His empire grew until the late nineties when he sold the group and moved to Mexico. His most recent stint was an attempt to revive the famous Tavern on the Green in New York City, which was heavily publicized and covered in the award-winning documentary, The Last Magnificent. In our conversation with Chef Jeremiah Tower, we discuss:

  • Chef Tower's upbringing, background and how he got his first chef job at Chez Panisse
  • How "California Cuisine" came to be and what his goals were in stepping out in trying something that had never been done before.
  • What it was like for Chef Jeremiah Tower to step out on his own and start his own restaurant, Stars, which went on to become incredibly successful.
  • How he has been able to deal with challenges in his career, like the infamous San Francisco Earthquake of 1989 that nearly sunk his business.
  • The power of embracing chaos, in order to create new opportunities, instead of allowing it to dictate the outcome for you.
  • What Chef Tower looks for when hiring and his advice for any and all upcoming cooks and chefs.
  • What is wrong with the current state of the restaurant/chef industry.
  • Let us know what you think and we'd love for you to share this one out on social media. Be sure to tag him on social media: @jeremiahtower on Twitter and @tower.jeremiah on Instagram.

Also, be sure to check out The Last Magnificent, the award-winning documentary produced by Anthony Bourdain and CNN. Chris also wrote about Chef Jeremiah Tower in his first book, Making the Cut: What Separates the Best From the Rest. LISTEN ON iTunes LISTEN ON Stitcher LISTEN ON the website, just scroll down a bit further.

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52 episodes available. A new episode about every 14 days averaging 46 mins duration .