Richard Sandoval Restaurants is pleased to announce the promotion of two talented chefs in the nation’s capital. Graham Bartlett has been tapped as the new regional executive chef for the Washington, DC area, and Jason Streiff is being promoted to chef de cuisine of Sandoval’s popular Zengo.
A native of Mississippi, Graham Bartlett’s interest in cooking was inspired by his grandmother, a former restaurant owner. In 1999, Bartlett enrolled in the advanced placement program at the prestigious Ecole Ritz Escoffier in Paris, France. While in Paris, Bartlett worked at L’Espadon, a two-star Michelin Restaurant. Here he was able to apply his formal training to real-world situations.
Upon completion of his training, Bartlett returned to the U.S. and made Denver, Colorado his home in 2000 at the award-winning Hilltop Café, where he teamed up with John Calloway, the future chef de cuisine of Zengo, Denver. Bartlett and Calloway shared a growing interest in Latin and Asian ingredients and flavors. As Hilltop Café changed ownership, the opportunity arose for both Calloway and Bartlett to join celebrity Chef Richard Sandoval for the opening of a new Latin-Asian restaurant, Zengo, which means “Give and Take” in Japanese. The success of Zengo Denver spurred Sandoval to take the concept to Washington, DC. Shortly after the opening of Zengo DC in 2005, Sandoval tapped Bartlett to be chef de cuisine. During his tenure, Zengo was the only Washington-area restaurant named to Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List in 2006.
In his new role, Bartlett will oversee the culinary operations of Sandoval’s extensive collection of popular restaurants in the nation’s capital. These include Zengo, Masa 14, El Centro D.F, with a second El Centro D.F. Georgetown opening in September along with the highly anticipated Toro Toro also coming to DC in the fall of 2013.
Jason Streiff, the new chef de cuisine for Zengo, was raised by a single mother after the passing of his father and he quickly learned how to help with the cooking at a tender age. After high school, Jason attended the University of Arizona for two and a half years. However it became very apparent to him that cooking was his true passion and calling and in August 2002, Streiff returned to Virginia to accept position in the kitchen at the Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg to develop his cooking techniques. Over the next three years he proved himself through various stations and ended up as the lead cook. Jason next enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. His drive for continuous experience and knowledge led him to take private chef jobs in the area, as well as an externship at the famed Union Square Café in Manhattan.
With his culinary degree in hand, he was hired by Orsay restaurant in in Manhattan in April 2007. Within three months Streiff was promoted from line cook to sous chef expanding his knowledge of kitchen management and high-end production of French cuisine. Jason also became sous vide certified under the instruction of Bruno Gousalt, who led Orsay to be one of very few restaurants in New York to perform this precise cooking technique.
Then in 2009, Jason once again returned to reside in Virginia, accepting a position as sous chef at Zengo which afforded him the opportunity to take on a new challenge, working with Latin and Asian cuisine. In this role he learned to enjoy combining the bold, different flavors while expanding his knowledge of product profiles working under Richard Sandoval’s culinary direction with Graham Bartlett. Then in July 2013, Streiff was promoted to the position of chef de cuisine, taking the lead for the culinary team at Zengo in the nation’s capital.
Zengo is an artful blend of Latin-Asian styles and flavors. Chef-owner Richard Sandoval, whose accolades include Bon Appétit “Restaurateur of the Year” and Mexico's Toque d'Oro, spins regional ingredients into beautifully balanced dishes designed for sharing. The beverage menu features innovative, hand-muddled cocktails as well as Latin wines, Japanese sakes and over 400 Tequilas. The vibrant décor fuses traditional and contemporary tastes, the perfect setting to savor Zengo's acclaimed cuisine.
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