Who better to learn from in the kitchen than your own father, particularly if he happens to be a certified Master Chef on the Midwest Culinary Institute faculty, explains his proud son, Jonathan Kinsella, nostalgically recalling the German apple pancakes he and his father would make together in their Cincinnati home. “My father has been my greatest mentor,” says Jonathan of the man who also happened to author Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing,Terrines, and Pâtés. “He instilled a strong work ethic in our Irish immigrant family. When I needed money or wanted to borrow the car, he had me earn it in the kitchen. He’s been a major inspiration to my career as a chef.”
Despite other early studies, Jonathan knew his true calling was to follow his father’s footsteps. At age 22, he ventured to Seattle as chef de partie under Chef Daisley Gordon at the French restaurant, Campagne. Trips together to Pike Place Market, his emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients and the all hands on deck environment he created are all influences Jonathan credits with shaping his philosophy.
After a stint back in Cincinnati where he attended the two-year program at The Midwest Culinary Institute and worked at local French restaurant The Maisonette with Restaurant DANIEL alumni, Bertrand Bouquin, Jonathan moved to Chicago in 2005 to work as chef de partie at Tru. Under Executive Chef Rick Tramonto, he was proud to have some of his own dishes included on the seasonal chef’s collection menu. In 2007, the Chicago’s Mobile Five Star Peninsula Hotel hired Kinsella as chef de cuisine for The Lobby Restaurant, the Bar and the hotel’s room service. He also oversaw Pierrot Gourmet, The Peninsula’s European style café serving sandwiches, salads and pastries.
In August 2010, Kinsella joined Bar Boulud in New York City as executive sous chef, fulfilling a lifelong dream of working for Daniel Boulud’s family of restaurants, inspired by Daniel’s focus and drive – the same qualities he recognized in his own father. “He is so passionate about what he does. I admire him for his accomplishment combined with the fact that he is so very hands on with us in the kitchen.” With such exposure to working with classic French bistro recipes, Jonathan learned to hone in on the “honesty” of cooking, using simplicity in technique and ingredients to let traditional dishes such as a croque monsieur or a coq au vin sing to the palate.
Barely a year after joining Boulud’s group, Kinsella was promoted to Executive Chef at the newly opened Épicerie Boulud, next door to Bar Boulud on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where his experience with European delicacies proved valuable. At Épicerie Kinsella perfected a menu of charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, fresh breads and pastries, that regulars and visitors came flocking for.
In January 2013, Kinsella took the opportunity within the internationally-expanding Boulud family of restaurants to lend his talents as Executive Chef of db Bistro Moderne at the renowned Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Moving to Southeast Asia is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Jonathan, and he is honored to share Daniel Boulud’s cuisine with Singaporeans and international guests alike who grace the world-class hotel. He looks forward to preparing dishes that combine traditional French bistro cooking with contemporary flavors that are also influenced by the local ingredients of Singapore.