By March 3, 2011 Read More →

ChefView: Chef Jegoux at Jax

12 Questions with Chef Eric Jegoux @ JAX on H

Chef Eric Jegoux

Chef Eric Jegoux

Mitch and Tammy Maisetti know a little something about the downtown dining scene. They opened Tresetti’s World Café, one of Modesto’s favorite restaurants in 1994; that’s 16 years of continued success. They made a commitment to downtown Modesto before being downtown was cool!

In October 2010 they opened JAX on H, a casual restaurant and bar that offers delicious food at very affordable prices. Think delectable comfort food: meatloaf, chicken pot pie, spicy fried chicken, and a smothered pork chop are among their ‘blue plate classics.’ The man in the kitchen preparing these delicious entrees is Chef Eric Jegoux, a native of France. He’s classically trained and a veteran of some of the culinary capitals of the world. ModestoView (MV) sat down with Chef Eric (CE) before his dinner rush to ask him 12 very important questions.

MV: When did you decide to become a chef?
CE: Indirectly my mother inspired me. When I was very young I was always intrigued by food. How do you make it look good, and more importantly, how did you make it taste good? Unfortunately my mom wasn’t very good at it. Since food is part of the culture in France I decided that I wanted to do it better.

MV: Tell our readers about your training.
CE: When I was 15 years old I served a 3-year apprenticeship in back home in France. It included three 6 month sessions working in a restaurant and three 6 month sessions of classroom work. When I finished I was grounded in all aspects of running a kitchen.

MV: When you finished your training where did you go to work?
CE: I began by working in restaurants in Brittany, in the western part of France. From there I moved to one of the great food cities in the world, Paris, where I worked for 4 years. After that I moved to the United States working as a chef at Café de la Presse for a little over a year. I then went to Café Venezia in Berkeley for a few years before moving to the Central Valley. I worked at Oakdale Country Club for 5 years before coming to JAX.

MV: Did something other then a job had to bring you to The Central Valley?
CE: My wife’s parents are from Turlock and I always loved the area. When I had the opportunity to move here I jumped at it.

MV: Describe your cooking style.
CE: Classically trained but honest!

MV: What is the most popular item on your menu?
CE: The chicken pot pie. I make it from scratch. it’s a chicken breast with fresh vegetables in a flaky pie crust. It’s delicious!

MV: What is your favorite item on the menu?
CE: The meatloaf! It’s made with ground beef and chorizo and topped with a coffee/bourbon BBQ sauce.

MV: What is your culinary indulgence?
CE: Bread and butter. I also like, and I’m embarrassed to say it, Cheetohs.

MV: What is your favorite meal from your childhood?
CE: I love blood sausage with mashed potatoes and pork sausage with apples and spices.

MV: If you could have any three people to dinner, who would you invite and what would you prepare?
CE: First I would invite my dad. He’s been gone for awhile now and I miss him. Next I would have the love of my life, my wife Leslie. To round out the table I would invite Lou Reed (Take a walk on the wild side) from one of my favorite bands The Velvet Underground. The appetizer would be sardines in olive oil. For the entrée I would prepare chicken cordon bleu. To finish the meal we would have an apple tart along with coffee and cognac.

MV: Where do you like to go out to eat in Modesto?
CE: Surla’s! They have some of the best appetizers in town. The lumpia and the duck buns are fantastic! Also Tresetti’s. I love the “world café” concept and the variety of the menu.

MV: What do you like to do in your spare time
CE: I love spending time with my wife and three kids. We have 11 year old twin daughters and a 9 year old son. I also like to ride my Harley up and down the valley.

JAX Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce – Serves 10 to 15 people

  • 5lbs. ground beef
  • 1lb. ground chorizo
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ yellow onions (diced)
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (diced)

Sautee veggies until soft (chill) then add all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees in tin foil tent for 1 hour.

Jim Beam Coffee BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups of strong coffee (espresso)
  • 1 cup of Jim Beam bourbon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp pepper flakes

Simmer all ingredients in heavy based sauce pan, uncovered, stirring occasionally until reduced to 1 cup (15 to 20 minutes)

Slice the meatloaf after cooling it a little. Pour the sauce over the meatloaf and bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.

JAX on H
1016 H Street
Modesto, CA. 95354
(209)522-4JAX (4529)
www.jaxmodesto.com
Hours:
M-F Lunch 11-3
Happy Hour 3-7
M-F Dinner 5-10
Saturday Dinner 5-2

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About the Author:

Rick is the Senior VP of Sales for Stanislaus Food Products and travels the USA visiting and sampling the best restaurants and loves the cuisine here in Modesto.