Black Stag’s Mark Jones on culinary freedom, great steak, and soulful plates

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Chef Mark Jones. // Image by Chris Ortiz

Mark Jones thinks that the vital to fantastic cooking is in holding it easy.

He’s the Wolfgang Puck-properly trained government chef of Black Stag, a brewery on Lawrence’s beloved Massachusetts Avenue in which he nurtures his creative instincts in the kitchen area and encourages his personnel to do the very same.

Below, he dives into his journey from West Coast to No Coastline, his enjoy for ramen noodles, and constantly having beer on the mind.

The Pitch: Inform us far more about your culinary background. What led you to Black Stag?

Mark Jones: I’m a classically properly trained culinary experienced who went to school at Le Cordon Bleu University of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles. I labored work opportunities in [hospitality] and leisure right before and following culinary school—catering, dining places, temp get the job done, and grocery merchants.

My journey [began] when I was operating at Wolfgang Puck Catering, which I started out a couple of weeks ahead of catering occasions for the Oscars. Wolfgang Puck really taught me to honor the ingredients and that presentation is everything. Every thing requires to be performed with haste and care.

Los Angeles has so a great deal excellent foodstuff, but it is definitely packed. I arrived back again [to the Midwest] because I wished to be closer to my spouse and children. Los Angeles is so costly, and I noticed an option to pave my way as a chef. An acquaintance encouraged I appear into working at Black Stag, and the executive chef at the time outlined he was truly amazed with my resume and experience.

I started working there in January and became the new government chef shortly following Valentine’s Working day.

What stands out about Black Stag? What should people order when they check out?

[It’s] roomy and stunning. The Founder’s Area is a great place for catered occasions. The outside patio is nice for refreshing air, people today viewing, and parades. The meals goes great with the beer, and it’s fun to view our brewers make the beer on-web page. I appreciate getting a steam tub with our open floor prepare.

It’s tough to choose just a single dish, but people need to absolutely purchase a steak. We use certified Angus beef and butcher our steaks in-household, holding a purist philosophy in preparing them by working with salt, pepper, and butter.

We also do steak frites now with chimichurri and roasted Japanese sweet potato. It’s produced working with skirt steak, a lesser-acknowledged slash that I really like due to the fact it’s truly the slice of the primal which is used to quality the full cow.

How would you describe your foodstuff philosophy when it arrives to cooking?

I enable the foods speak to me. I like to start out with fantastic substances, and I don’t have to do a lot but develop what is at the center of every plate. I check out to create harmony with my dishes. Becoming a “from scratch” kitchen, I stimulate the staff by providing them independence to produce “specials,” but with steering. I enjoy for flavors to perform off of each individual other.

How do you do the job what is on tap into your dishes?

I’m often imagining about the complete dish and then chatting to the brewers, Alex and John. The purpose is to come across which of their craft beers could accent or complement the featured dish.

I like distinctive textures, and I want those people flavors to have harmony or distinction. I did a pork chili with the C3PO beer, which has notes of chipotle in it. So, rather of incorporating a bunch of spices to make a tremendous incredibly hot chili, I let the beer do that for me.

What’s been your go-to takeout a short while ago? What do you like to whip up at residence?

I appreciate ramen. Currently, it’s been Ramen Bowls. I get the Tonkotsu shoyu ramen with more noodles and extra green onion with corn. At house, I usually have bucatini on hand. I adore a thick, chewy noodle. I like to include togarashi, fantastic olive oil, and Kosher salt.

Are there any dishes that have been knocking your socks off lately?

The pizza by-the-slice at Excess fat Sully’s and the brunch, biscuits, and shrimp and grits at Denver Biscuit Organization in Westport are outstanding. The biscuits and shrimp and grits aren’t just excellent—they’re soulful.

What and exactly where will you be drinking this summertime?

​​I genuinely really like the pineapple vodka at the Cash Grille on the Plaza. It’ll get you although. It is so tasty that I’m heading to infuse vodka with pineapple at residence this summertime. I’ll also be consuming the Sangria at Henry’s in Lawrence.