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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Chef Jackie Carnesi Brings Her South Texas Spirit to an Iconic Brooklyn Diner


We’re celebrating outstanding girls within the worlds of meals and design all through Ladies Are Superb Month (aka Ladies’s Historical past Month, Food52-style). Is there a girl we needs to be profiling? Tell us.


Shortly after Jackie Carnesi arrived in New York Metropolis recent out of culinary college, she turned a fixture at certainly one of Brooklyn’s largest restaurant empires, Roberta’s. She’s been tapped to steer equally spectacular eating places ever since. Following Roberta’s, Jackie turned government chef at Nura, the place she filtered her expertise and South Texas upbringing—she grew up on Tex-Mex and Mexican cooking, alongside the Southern staples of her Tennessee mother—by way of the lens of Indian delicacies. Although this was unfamiliar terrain on the time, she gladly, simply met the problem (Nura turned a Michelin-recommended restaurant underneath her helm).

Now, she is about to move the kitchen of the previous, iconic Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose new menu will function Tex-Mex and traditional diner fare. As she prepares for its much-anticipated reopening this spring, Jackie—who isn’t one to withstand flexing and stretching her abilities—is concurrently answerable for the nightly menu at Pan Pan Vino Vino, a brand new bakery/wine bar from the Nura workforce. In between this enterprise, perfecting her flour tortillas for Kellogg’s, and her busy household life—she affectionately calls 5-year-old boy, Hunter, the “gentle of my life and full-time wild animal”—she took a second to inform us in regards to the girls who encourage her and the way she’s feeling in regards to the problem that awaits her.

How does being a girl affect your work?

Jackie: I undoubtedly suppose that being a girl within the business has had an impact on my work, largely as a supervisor. I believe it has offered me a degree of empathy for individuals who have possibly not had it really easy on this business, however I additionally suppose I’ve plenty of affect on my profession from being a mother. It is taught me plenty of endurance and understanding and vice versa—being a chef has taught me how one can maintain a cool head when your child is having a mood tantrum. I’ve discovered a lot from either side of my life.

Who’re the ladies that encourage you in your business?

I am continually impressed by girls on this business, whether or not cooks like Chef Aretah Ettarh over at Gramercy Tavern, or Chef Ryoko Yoshida at Marlow & sons and Diner, or Cooks Sam Brief and Tajeh Porter as pastry chef and head chef, respectively, at Nura. I really feel so grateful to be inside a circle of fantastic feminine cooks like Sohla El-Waylly, who is also so inspiring to me. She’s so deep rooted in her values and so vocal about that.

What’s essentially the most troublesome a part of having a artistic profession?

I might say that the toughest a part of being in a artistic discipline, particularly in New York Metropolis, is making an attempt to maintain up with all the opposite superb cooks which might be placing out a lot lovely meals that is actually modern. It is very easy to get caught up in the concept that you are purported to continually be creating, and never simply creating, however creating one thing new that individuals have by no means seen earlier than, and that is a very excessive bar to carry your self to.

Jackie outdoors of Kellogg’s, set to open in late spring 2024.

Photograph by Carissa Diaz

How will you juggle work between Pan Pan Vino Vino and Kellogg’s?

Pan Pan Vino Vino was all the time meant to be a short-term factor, extra of a seek the advice of gig, however I care so deeply for and have such an excellent working relationship with the workforce there, I’ll make myself obtainable in no matter capability they want me, whether or not that’s menu updates or coaching new workers or no matter.

What would be the problem of operating Kellogg’s in comparison with the problem of Nura, the place you needed to educate your self how one can prepare dinner by way of an Indian lens?

Making a Tex-Mex menu has been thrilling for a variety of causes, however primarily as a result of it’s the prospect to prepare dinner meals that’s so near my coronary heart and jogs my memory a lot of my hometown. Bringing that consolation right into a metropolis that I’ve made my dwelling may be very gratifying.

It’s difficult in methods Nura wasn’t. At Nura, there was the thrill of studying as a lot as I may a few culinary panorama that I wasn’t so conversant in (Indian delicacies) by way of a lens of a culinary panorama I used to be very conversant in (Mexican delicacies), and naturally there was immense strain to do it properly, however the level was additionally to create one thing new, and non-traditional, and that got here with a certain quantity of freedom.

With Kellogg’s, the mix of Mexican and Tex-Mex, which has such an extended historical past, has to stay as much as extra outlined expectations. There’s a distinct taste of strain concerned and a few of that’s from my very own background and culinary expertise. At Nura, the bar was extraordinarily excessive, however making an attempt to recreate your mother’s or your grandma’s migas or flour tortillas? That’s private.

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