#FOURUSA | FOURty seconds with Jacob Leatherman

19 Jun 2014
2 min read
FOUR catches up with Relais & Châteaux chef Jacob Leatherman at Triple Creek Ranch in Montana

What is your earliest memory of being interested in food?

At the age of six, playing with my Fischer Price Cook Stove Magic Burner Range; my mom always told me that was my favorite toy growing up.

Do you try and recreate any flavours or dishes that you remember from your childhood in your cooking today?

Yes, being from the Midwest and Cincinnati in particular, chili is really popular along with other comfort-type foods. So here at the ranch we will do a cool spiced-up Cincinnati chili with local ingredients from here in Montana. We have fun with it and try to recreate and update the flavours as we go.

Describe your culinary style in a few words…

Be happy. Embrace spontaneity. Respect tradition but have fun with the modern techniques, and be a little playful with your styles, as they should change along with the seasons.

What are a few of your most indispensable ingredients?

Basic ingredients to have on hand all the time would be: good quality olive oil, sea salt, quality soy sauce and nice vanilla beans to go along with the culinary style to always be happy and have a good time.

What kind of experience do you hope to give your guests dining at Triple Creek Ranch?

Because of where Triple Creek Ranch is located and that many of our guests come here to escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, we like to create a very comfortable and relaxed dining experience. Providing more up-scale food with that comfortable atmosphere is what we are all about. Making it a fun food experience for the guest by constantly changing up the menu with a variety of cuisines and showing off the local ingredients we can use here, in Montana. Also, we like to provide a little education and impart some knowledge as to what we can do, so that the guests hopefully try new things while they are here.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

I would have to say when we cooked at the James Beard House in New York City this past fall. That was just a great experience and overall successful event. Just the anticipation, excitement and thrill of never doing something like that before, along with being able to pull it off as we did, provided an amazing experience for everyone involved. Being able to bring that “Rugged Montana Luxury” theme of Triple Creek Ranch to New York City, and have it be as well received as it was, has been the highlight of my career so far.

If you could take a plane ride to anywhere in the world, just for one meal, where would it be and why?

I would love to go to Hong Kong. I’ve never been there before and have only read about it, but there are just so many unlimited varieties of food, as there are anywhere, but that kind of cuisine really appeals to me because of the complex combinations. If I had to get specific, there’s this place there called Tim’s Kitchen where they do some really cool stuff. Dim Sum for breakfast at Tim’s Kitchen before exploring the rest of Hong Kong would be my choice.