2018 Chef to Watch Marcus Jacobs

marcus jacobs

Marcus Jacobs
Marjie’s Grill • New Orleans

Marcus Jacobs, chef of Marjie’s Grill, hasn’t been everywhere, but he’s working on it. The chef is originally from Ohio, and his start in the kitchen arrived with a twist of fate.

At the time, he was washing dishes in a fine-dining establishment, but when a pantry cook didn’t show one day, Marcus was given a new opportunity and worked his way up to sous chef before setting out for California. His adventures eventually landed him in San Francisco, where he worked at Zuni Café under the late Chef Judy Rodgers.

While in San Francisco, Marcus lived in Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America. There, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese cultures join together in one place, particularly when it comes to food. The influence of these different cultures and cuisines transformed Marcus’ perspective, and what had been his job became his vocation.

“That’s where I really started to become passionate about cooking,” says Marcus. “That style of eating, across a lot of Asian cultures, is something I really relate to and enjoy.”

Eventually, Marcus decided to join Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). The program allowed him to live on farms in a country of his choosing, which he narrowed down to Ireland and Japan. Then, he literally flipped a coin. “I landed on Japan, and I’m really happy that I did,” Marcus says with a laugh.

He spent three months in Japan, learning on farms and in restaurants. The experience cemented his passion for quality, local foods, which drives much of his work at Marjie’s Grill, which he co-owns with his partner, Caitlin Carney.

“We work with small farms for all of our produce and meats, and all of our seafood comes from the Gulf,” Marcus says. “That’s what really inspires us: getting nice stuff and fitting it into this flavor profile we like . . . smoky from the barbecue, seasoned with the Vietnamese, Thai, and Lao flavors.”

Slow-Grilled Beef Short Ribs with Herb Wraps and Roasted Chile Paste
Yields: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 16 bone-in chuck short ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Wood or wood chips (preferably oak or pecan)
  • Bibb or romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, baby collard greens, or mustard greens, to serve
  • Fresh mint, cilantro, basil, dill, or tarragon, to serve
  • Sliced cucumbers and scallions, to serve
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Roasted Chile Paste (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Season ribs liberally with kosher salt and pepper, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Start a fire on one side of a charcoal grill using half a chimney of charcoal. Once coals are glowing and begin to ash over, throw in a handful of wood chips. Place seasoned ribs on grill away from fire.
  3. Put lid on grill with vents positioned over meat, and open them halfway. Once smoke begins to rise from vents, place your hand above them. You should be able to hold it there for 5 seconds before it becomes too hot. If it’s too hot for that, then slightly close vents on bottom of grill to regulate heat. Smoke ribs for 6 to 8 hours, adding a few lit coals and sprinkles of wood chips every 30 minutes and monitoring the temperature of the grill using an instant-read thermometer. Rotate ribs 90 degrees each time you do this.
  4. Once meat reaches an internal temperature of 205°, pull it from the smoker, and wrap in butcher’s paper. Let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.
  5. Arrange lettuces, herbs, cucumbers, and scallions on a large serving platter in a long cascade off to one side.
  6. Separate meat from bones, and slice meat against the grain into ⅛-inch pieces. Place a bone at the top of a platter. Fan sliced meat over the rib next to herbs. Sprinkle sliced meat with sea salt, and place a small bowl of Roasted Chile Paste between meat and herbs. Use lettuces and herbs to wrap meat and dunk in sauce, mixing different herbs for a variety of flavors.

Roasted Chile Paste
Yields: 3 Cups
 
Ingredients
  • 10 Anaheim chiles
  • 3 heads garlic
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1. teaspoons turbinado sugar
  • Kosher salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare a charcoal grill over high heat. Roast chiles over grill, turning, until charred and softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Once cooled, peel and seed chiles. (You don’t need to be overly meticulous; a few seeds and charred spots are nice in the final paste.)
  2. Cut off tops of garlic heads. Drizzle each head of garlic with 1 teaspoon oil and cover with a double layer of foil. Grill over indirect heat until softened, 25 to 30 minutes. Once cooled, remove foil and peel garlic cloves.
  3. Mash garlic in a granite mortar and pestle. Add peeled chiles, and mash into a fibrous paste. Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, and turbinado sugar, and season to taste with salt.

 

Join Marcus and the other 2018 Louisiana’ Cookin Chefs to Watch for an exclusive six-course dinner at Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans! 

Louisiana Cookin' : Chefs to Watch 2018

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