Published on January 8th, 2016 | by Brittain Thompson0
Cook of the House: Jon Davis at The Graduate
Name: Jon Davis
Position & Restaurant: Chef de Cuisine, Cabin 82 and The Coop at Graduate Hotel Oxford
Where are you from? Germantown, TN
How did you get into cooking? I first became interested in cooking from sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen while she would prepare meals for the family. Once she taught me how to scramble an egg, I was hooked. Years later in college I met this guy they call Saladman and he got me a job at Boure. The rest is history.
What is the best thing about your job? The opportunity to give other people jobs and teach them how to become better cooks.
Who is your favorite cook/chef? My good friend Nicolas Swogger (Swog) took me under his wing when I first started out. The skills and knowledge I gained from learning under him has greatly impacted the way I respect ingredients and prepare food. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his influence.
What kitchen tool/utensil could you not live without? They aren’t technically considered kitchen utensils, but I can’t live without a clipboard with a legal pad, pens, and sharpies.
What is your favorite flavor combo? Salty & savory
Name three items in your fridge: Budweiser, a week old pizza, and clarified butter.
Where do you get your best recipe ideas? My best recipe ideas come from trying to put a new twist on dishes I would eat during my childhood and collaborating with other chefs/cooks.
What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Every meal I eat at Pizza Church is the best one. If you don’t know about Pizza Church, too bad.
What is the weirdest meal you’ve ever eaten? Haggis. I don’t recommend it.
Personal specialties: I love to boil crawfish and my paella game is strong.
Favorite midnight snack: A grilled cheese on white with Kraft singles. The trashier the better.
Favorite kitchen music: I’ve been on a 80’s/90’s R&B and New Jack Swing kick lately. I’ve been jamming out to Babyface, New Edition, Johnny Gill, Bell Biv DeVoe, Janet Jackson, and Bobby Brown.
Who would you most like to cook for and what would you prepare? Isaac Hayes. I would prepare fried chicken, collard greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, and Mac & Cheese. Straight up soul food for the most soulful dude to ever live. Mr. Hayes wasn’t a drinker, but there would be a bottle of cognac on the table just in case.
Where do you like to dine in Oxford? Ajax, The Blind Pig aka The Basement of Dreams, Handy Andy, The Beacon, and Mama Jo’s.
Favorite restaurant in the world: I can’t narrow it down to just one, but my favorite restaurant regionally would have to be TriBecca Allie Café (Pizza Church) in Sardis, MS. Their pizza is truly the best I’ve ever had.
Aspirations: To open up a small 50 seater with my boys in the Lunch Money Crew and use that as launching pad to open more new and innovative restaurants.