In response to yesterday’s breakdown of 25 ugly food tattoos, Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group publicist Charissa Benjamin landed on a clever way to promote the relatively new chef de cuisine at Jackson 20: send me pics of his tats.
I bit on it like a baby trout. How could I not? Derek Simcik has some seriously hardcore tats. I’d love to see a tat-off, whatever that would be, between he and Zaytinya toque (and Top Chef contestant) Mike Isabella.
So who is Simcik? I’ve sampled his food only once, back in the summer, and found his wedge salad tasty and his version of barbecued pulled pork sweeter than Paula Deen hopped up on peach tea. But after reading the bio forwarded by Benjamin, I have to admit that I need to dig deeper into Simcik’s work.
More tats and Simcik’s bio after the jump.
Chef de Cuisine Derek Simcik was a member of the opening staff at Jackson 20, when he began his role as executive pastry chef. He was promoted to chef de cuisine in early 2009, and brings an artful touch and authentic Southern sensibility to the restaurant’s local, seasonal cuisine.
Born in Athens, Greece to American parents, Chef Simcik initially pursued fine art after high school, but was drawn through his family’s deep culinary ties into the world of food. His grandfather, a Czech immigrant and a butcher, often kept whole sides of beef in the freezer and prepared them for the family. His mother was a gifted cook from Louisiana, whose biscuits, dirty rice and smothered okra inspired his love of Southern food.
An avid traveler who has visited five continents, Chef Simcik often looked to cuisine as a window into culture. His experiences living in such diverse locales as Tunisia, Japan, and Germany have brought him into contact with a tremendous variety of ingredients and techniques. Eventually, fascinated by the possibilities of food, he traded his palette for a plate.
Chef Simcik, a graduate of the Art Institute of Washington, was captivated by the precision and attention to detail of pastry chefs. He was grateful for his experience in a European kitchen, and trained at Der Haussen in Vienna, Austria before returning to the United States to pursue a full-time career in food. After stints as sous chef and pastry chef at Café Milano and The Grille at Morrison House, Chef Simcik eventually joined the team at Jackson 20 as executive pastry chef. Today, he brings his extraordinary depth of experience and commitment to the finest ingredients to his new role as chef de cuisine.
Fluent in Japanese, Simcik enjoys traveling and immersing himself in the cuisines of other cultures. An avid environmentalist, Simcik hopes to retire and cook in his favorite part of the world, the Caribbean.