Serving Up Something New at Marletto’s.
Story by Hannah McFarland
Many people don’t grow up to have the job they wanted when they were five years old. But Webster’s own residential chef, Jonathan Kraft, did just that. It’s possible to say his life was changed forever when he made his first dish of fried bologna. Today he is making more sophisticated meals.
Q: What made you want to become a chef?
A: My parents worked at Washington University. They would work late, and I would cook dinner every night. I always loved to eat and always loved to cook. When the time for college came around and I was deciding what I should do, being a chef just seemed right.
Q: What are some of your accomplishments?
A: In 2003, I was voted Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation. I’m also the co-founder and culinary director of the St. Louis World’s Fare, an annual event featuring some great food, music and art.
Q: What’s the coolest thing you’ve done as a chef?
A: I was part of the United States National Culinary Team that went to the Culinary Olympics held in Erfurt, Germany every four years. Rolf Baumann and I won the bronze medal in cold food competition. We would have won gold, but one plate was facing the opposite way instead of them all in the same direction. Master chefs that were in attendance of the event came up and told us our work was at the highest level.
Q: Do you have any role models?
A: My favorite chef is Paul Prudhomme. He’s the father of Cajun food. His love of cooking and using good fresh food for his dishes is what inspires me to use good ingredients.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to make?
A: Anything with fresh seafood, like halibut or lobster. Pan-seared halibut with lobster cognac cream is to die for. I used to catch fish so fresh it was still squirming when it hit the grill.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island what would you bring?
A: Sun tan lotion, Weber grill and a fishing rod. I could live for a long time.