The Citiblog

A Conversation with Celebrated Chef Jeremy Salamon
August 4, 2023, 7:32.11 pm ET


Photo: Chef Jeremy Salamon

Chef Jeremy Salamon has been named a Rising Star in the food world. His restaurant, Agi’s Counter in Crown Heights, continues to draw rave reviews. Inspired by his grandmother, he began cooking at a young age and continues on that path today.

CITITOUR: It’s not often that a Chef under 30 makes such a lasting impact, what drives you?

CHEF SALAMON: More than anything, what drives me is the opportunity for the restaurant to be a part of someone's moment - whether that is for a quick lunch, a celebratory meal, or a regular who lives in the neighborhood and comes in for many moments.

CITITOUR: You have won praise for your latest venture, Agi’s Counter, named after your grandmother. What makes it so special?

CHEF SALAMON: Part of what makes Agi's unique is that it's really a place to visit at any time of day - breakfast, lunch, or dinner - and you're going to get something that is beautiful and made with passion, but in an easy and approachable environment. It almost feels like you're at home and your grandmother is cooking for you, which is exactly what I wanted to create.

CITITOUR: How would you describe your food? Does it reflect your Hungarian roots?

CHEF SALAMON: I do think our food reflects my roots but in an evolved way. We're not by any means serving traditional or authentic Hungarian food. It's my idea of what Eastern European/Jewish food looks like, through the lense of a young chef in NYC, and that's driven by a lot of influences - the farmers market, seasonality, my team who have lots of ideas. I'm honoring my roots, not re-creating them.

CITITOUR: We noticed one of the dishes on the current menu is Paprika Pork Scrapple with salted Jersey tomatoes. How do you make scrapple cool?

CHEF SALAMON: Ha! Well I think scrapple is cool as is. Not a lot of people are super familiar with it, but we work with an amazing butcher here in Brooklyn who custom made the scrapple for us. It's delicious on its own, the tomatoes are really just a bonus because they're in season and juicy and acidic.

CITITOUR: The images of your dishes never cease to amaze whether it’s Spanakopita Babka with a sunny side up egg or Buttered Pork & Peaches. How important is presentation to you?

CHEF SALAMON: Presentation is very important but in an organic and natural - almost messy - way. I think there's beauty in the way herbs just fall off naturally or how a puddle of olive oil looks on the bottom of the plate. I like to call it organized chaos. The aesthetic is not perfect, but definitely thought out.

CITITOUR: You’ve worked in several iconic NYC restaurants including Prune, Locanda Verde and The Eddy. How did each influence your style of cooking?

CHEF SALAMON: From's kind of the anchor of how I cook to this day - simplicity at its finest with a lot of heart, and a lot of technique that does not always show through on the plate. And also just how to work in a small kitchen in NYC and make the most of it. Locanda Verde was all about doing things on a grand scale; keeping things consistent when cooking for hundreds of people each night. And at The Eddy, it was a lot about creativity and just trying different things out - A lot of ideas, a lot of firsts, a lot of successes and failures.

CITITOUR: What are your future plans? Are you planning on expanding Agi’s Counter or working on new concepts?

CHEF SALAMON: We're currently exploring the idea of expanding Agi's Counter - stay tuned there for sure. And my first cookbook is coming out next September, so I will definitely be focusing on that when the time comes.

CITITOUR: What does Chef Jeremy Salamon like to do when he’s not cooking?

CHEF SALAMON: Sleep! Honestly, I just love to unwind. I like to go to the waterfront by the Seaport or to the park and just zone out, read a book. And whenever I can, I love to eat out and be inspired by what other people are doing.

We’d like to thank Chef Salamon for taking the time to grant us this interview and wish him, and his team, much success in the future.


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