Chef Jeffrey Lizotte is the executive chef of Hartford's acclaimed ON20 restaurant and Connecticut’s only nominee for FOOD & WINE’s annual People’s Best New Chef award [you can vote online through March 31 at 5 pm].
A Connecticut native, Lizotte has been executive chef of ON20 since 2012. A graduate of Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, Jeffrey has worked under chefs David Bouley and Eric Ripert, and completed stages in France at the acclaimed La Tupina in Bordeaux, and the two Michelin-starred La Bastide St. Antoine in Grasse, France. In 2009, Lizotte returned to the nutmeg state as Chef de Cuisine at ON20, becoming executive chef in 2012. The same year, he earned a silver medal at the Bocuse D’Or USA and was awarded Valhrona Best Pastry while representing the U.S in the international culinary competition Trophee Passion.
A talented Connecticut chef, CTbites invited Lizotte to participate in our '10 Questions' column to understand what makes him tick as a chef both inside and outside of the kitchen.
If you had unexpected guests arriving at your home for dinner in 1 hour, what would you whip up?
Pasta Carbonara – everyone likes a good pasta dish. It is simple and one of my favorites.
What is the last dish you cooked for yourself?
I made myself some yogurt over the weekend.
What are your guilty pleasures in terms of food?
Cheeseburgers, as greasy and rare as possible.
What ingredient could you not live without?
What was your worst kitchen nightmare?
While participating in the Trophee Passion, an international culinary competition in France, my coach misread the rules for the competition. I didn't prepare enough food for judges and was penalized severely!
What is your most useful kitchen tool or appliance?
A vita-mix blender.
What dish on your menu most defines you and your cooking style?
Any dish that connects the time, the place, and the guest together harmoniously.
What defines an outstanding meal for you?
Good company, a gracious host, plenty good things to eat and drink.
Who do you like to cook for the most?
I enjoy cooking for my family the most.
Extracurricular activity you enjoy when not cooking?
When I am not in the kitchen I enjoy rock climbing and other outdoor sports.
People would be surprised to know that you...
I think people would be surprised to know that I have a fear of flying.
What is your favorite recipe for this season? Can you share it?
My favorite recipe for this season is the Charred Grilled Spanish Octopus we have on the menu. It is made with grilled octopus, fennel, grapefruit and tarragon.
What's the best thing about cooking/working in Hartford?
Continuing the legacy of Hartford Steam Boiler’s fine dining restaurant today in an up-and-coming New England city.