If love is the spice of life, then chef Jordan Lerman and pastry chef Stephanie Cohen have flavored their cuisine with sweet emotion. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, the couple worked in some of New York’s most illustrious kitchens. This spring, they opened a restaurant of their own: Jardin, a 3,300-square-foot eatery in West Palm Beach. Reflective of Lerman’s South Florida and Cohen’s Panamanian roots, the menu offers dishes like pan-roasted mojo gator ribs and Latin-inspired desserts. Here, Lerman and Cohen talk inspiration and cooking tips. (561-440-5273)
PBI: What are your main culinary influences?
Lerman: My first main influence is my background [of] the flavors of the food I used to eat at home when my mom would cook as well as the food we used to eat around Florida—a lot of Cuban and Bahamian food. [Also] my first jobs in New York. The time I spent at Eleven Madison Park really showed me what quality is and what our standard should always be, no matter what type of food we are making.
How have you weaved in your backgrounds?
Lerman: Our crispy hummus was inspired by my time in Israel and the dry chorizo was inspired by Stephanie’s background in Panama.
Cohen: Panama is a part of me. I am bringing desserts that have been made over and over again with a Latin flair. Our doughnut tower with maple-Bavarian cream also comes with honey-soaked churros, old-fashioned doughnuts, and café con leche.
Any chef tips for the kitchen newbie?
Lerman: Always use kosher salt and try seasoning food with [an] acid, whether it’s vinegar, lemon, or lime. A little acid really helps make a dish pop.