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Take 5 with Jeff Smock

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Title: Chef de Cuisine, PlumpJack Cafe

Home town: Lexington KY been in the Bay Area for about a year and half

1. What were meals like for you growing up?
Awful! My mom wasn't a very good cook. We ate well-done burgers and well-done meatloaf. But we had a farm so we had plenty of vegetables and my dad cooked good breakfasts. My favorite foods were monkey bread and cereal.

2. What's your favorite item on the menu right now?
My signature dish, Applewood Smoked French Foie Gras. I love it. It's smoky which reflects my Southern background. We cold smoke it and then sear it.

In New York at the restaurant Blue Smoke where I used to work we hot smoked it, but I got the idea to cold smoke it instead and it's much better this way. No one else is doing it out here and people love it. Right now it has peaches on it but next month we'll probably add fire roasted plums and hazelnuts.


3. What music do you listen to in the kitchen?
Everything from Madonna to Hall & Oates, late 80's songs. I love to sing along and bug everyone! We only play music from 3 until 5. No music is on during dinner service. I want people to be able to focus in the kitchen.

4. Where do you like to go out to eat?
I love Chinese restaurants. I like China First on Clement. My wife is Chinese so she orders (in Chinese) and tells me about everything on the menu. We order the eight course menu. I like simple Italian food too like at A16 and Delfina.

5. What's the best thing about living in the Bay Area?
The weather! It's beautiful here. The sun is so bright, the water, the produce, the vegetables. There aren't crowds here like in New York City.

I like going to the farmer's markets both the one at the Ferry Building and on the weekend I go with my family to the one in Mountain View which has about 70 vendors and is less crowded. I shop for the restaurant and buy fruit for my son.

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