Like many of his peers, Troy Jorge faced the greatest challenge of his rising career with the coronavirus pandemic. As executive chef of Michelin-starred Temporis, he and proprietor Sam Plotnick worked tirelessly to prevent the restaurant’s closure by offering a carry out menu.
After a lengthy closure, Temporis recently reopened its doors, while unveiling a superb new tasting menu. But even with the highly anticipated reopening, there are still challenges to be met, including limited seating.
Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Chef Jorge took time away to talk about his remarkable career and his extraordinary new efforts at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants.
933 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Temporis (Latin – time)
Located in Chicago’s vibrant West Town neighborhood, Temporis opened its 20-seat restaurant in January 2017 by owner/chef Sam Plotnick. Featuring inventive, progressive American cuisine in a small yet intimate space, Temporis quickly gained a reputation as one of the city’s hottest and most innovative new restaurants. By 2018, Temporis gained broader recognition by being awarded a Michelin star in the 2019 Chicago Michelin guide. At the time, it was the only new restaurant in Chicago to earn a Michelin star for that year’s guide.
About Troy Jorge
By the summer of 2019, Sam Plotnick named Troy Jorge as his new executive chef at Temporis. Chef Troy’s impressive resume includes work with chef Curtis Duffy at Grace, which at the time was one of only two Michelin three-starred restaurants in Chicago. His resume also features his highly praised work as sous chef with Chef Ryan McCaskey of Chicago’s Michelin two star Acadia. With Temporis, Chef Troy continues to be widely recognized for his intricate and vastly distinctive culinary creations.
Last month, Temporis retained its coveted Michelin star in Chicago’s 2021 Michelin Guide. In its lofty review, the 2021 Michelin Guide describes Temporis as the “epitome of subtlety, serenity, and sophistication”.’
Q&A With Temporis Executive Chef Troy Jorge
Can you talk a little about your background?
I’m from New Bedford, Massachusetts. Originally, I wanted to be a fashion designer but I got kicked out of my sewing class freshman year of high school. After high school, I got a job in a restaurant and discovered a passion for cooking so I made the decision to go to culinary school. After graduating in 2001, I moved to Boston where I worked at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Clio restaurant, The Federalist restaurant, Ostra restaurant and Mooo, a modern steak house. In April 2016, I received a great opportunity in Chicago to work at Grace restaurant. I worked there for two years and then became the sous chef at Acadia. After a short stint there, I went on to become the executive chef of Temporis.
What or who is your greatest source of inspiration?
I’m very color motivated and I love abstract art so you could probably say those are a big source of inspiration for me. We try to stick strictly to what is currently season so that is also a big motivation for me.
Can you describe your experience at the Michelin three-star restaurant Grace?
Working at Grace was incredibly intense. It was the most amazing and efficient kitchen I had ever worked in. Basically, you had to become a “ninja”, moving and working in silence. You had to do everything as fast as possible, all while staying very quiet and calm. From the second you grabbed your cutting board, there was no time to waste. We would calculate tasks on our mise en place lists to the 30 second intervals. For example, brunoise four shallots are going to take me two and a half minutes. It was also the cleanest kitchen I’ve ever seen. We used to joke sometimes and say we cleaned more than we actually cook. My experience at Grace was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
Can you describe your style of cooking?
It’s very ingredient driven and color motivated but playful at the same time. My end goal with every dish is to create balance. We take each dish and make it as delicious as we possibly can and then we figure out how to make it as beautiful as we possibly can.
What is the most unique ingredient you have used?
I don’t know if you can call any ingredient unique in the modern day of social media! Although, I would have to say giant acorn barnacles or baby glass eels were unusual and unique.
Last year was extraordinarily challenging for restaurants across the country. What were you able to do to keep operations running?
Since our food at Temporis isn’t travel friendly, we had to completely recreate our menu into a takeout menu to survive. So, we stuck to the same high standards and quality we normally do and just started making delicious comfort food. We were lucky enough that it generated just enough revenue to get us by until dine-in service was restored.
Do you have any tips you can offer to an aspiring chef?
My best advice to aspiring chefs would be to work for as many different chefs as possible. Don’t become a sous chef too early and continue to learn and read as much as possible. Start off at really busy restaurants because that will build speed and it will be easier to refine yourself when you already have speed versus the other way around. Pay attention to everything even if you think it’s not doing anything for you. You will be surprised what you realize years later from what you thought wasn’t important.
About The Author:
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles and CBS Chicago
During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a digital audience reach of 489 million and more than 5.5 million monthly visitors. His other stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.