Interview with Josh Kitchens: Chef de Cuisine at JP Charlotte

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Josh has been the Chef de Cuisine at JP Charlotte for a little over a year but he is no stranger to the kitchen and certainly not at The Westin Charlotte. He has been at the company for over 11 years and we are so lucky to have him holding the reins in our kitchen.

Who or what are your greatest influences in the kitchen?

My greatest influence would have to be my grandmother, Mary Kitchens. We lived in a small farm, raising livestock and produce. During the early morning she would harvest and the remainder of the day she would create delicious meals for me. The passion and flavors she created helped develop my vision in the culinary world.

What is the most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten?

My favorite meal was produced at Umi in Buckhead, Atlanta. The inspired flavors produced in the Asian Cuisine would have to top my list. The A5 Japanese Drunken Wagyu; perfect Marbled and Sake Infused. I recall the wine pairing with the Wagyu and cutting through the fat and it slowing dissolving.

How do you think JP’s new approach to farm to table fits into the culinary scene in Charlotte?

Charlotte’s culinary scene is new and vibrant. New restaurants are emerging on a daily basis with different techniques and cuisines. One key factor that differentiates JP Charlotte from the rest would be our efforts to display all of North Carolina under one roof. If you’re a visitor or resident, we can guarantee hand selected product that is cultivated by known sources while supporting the local vendors and creating health conscious delicates for all customers. We also pride our menus on providing authentic true southern comfort food which fits the Queen City naturally.

How does using local farms change or affect what you’re making in the kitchen?

The use of local farms and vendors create significant situations, both negative and positive. From a negative aspect, Mother Nature can be your best friend and your worst enemy in some cases. Farming depends solely on the precipitation. Draughts, extreme weather and sunlight all create different scenarios in farming which can ultimately affect the product available to us. On the brighter side of things, our menus are always evolving and we offer new products on a weekly basis. Being creative with what’s available keeps the chefs intrigued and we’ll always have something new for our guest every time you decide to let us fulfill your appetite.

What is your favorite part of using the new local, organic farms in the Carolinas?

The best part of our Farm to Table concept is the evolution of product. We really enjoy working with the new items, some to which are foreign to our kitchen. The Chefs and cooks really have to research and work as a team to constantly provide high quality meals with different products on a weekly basis. The learning and teaching that is required with this concept definitely keeps the culinary team engaged and focused.

What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?

Butter! Butter is much more than fat. Butter creates textures, balances flavors and of course just makes everything better! The source of butter also makes a difference.

What do you want a diner to say or feel after eating a meal your kitchen has prepared?

After a meal at JP Charlotte, I like for my diners to say “I’ll be back…with friends.” We all have our go-to spots for a great meal, but when you want to take it a step further and allow friends to enjoy the experience as well, that’s inspiring. The meal isn’t just a meal anymore, it’s a desired ambiance to pass to others.

You can come experience Josh Kitchens cooking for yourself by stopping in for lunch or dinner.

Happy Eating!

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