Hot Chef: Jon Cichon of Lacroix talks fine dining and dive bars

Jon Cichon helms the kitchen at Lacroix.
Jon Cichon helms the kitchen at Lacroix.

The face of Lacroix’s kitchen, at the Rittenhouse Hotel, is executive chef Jon Cichon. He’s been a solid force at the famously elegant restaurant for several years. You might also recognize him from his demos at COOK, or his participation in collaborative chef dinners and food competitions. We spoke with Cichon about fine dining and dive bar hopping in Philadelphia.

You were trained at Lacroix, then worked at Supper, and eventually came back to Lacroix. Are there benefits to staying put at a restaurant, compared to some chefs who’ve worked at five places in 10 years?
It’s tough because sometimes I wish I would have done that, but I’m happy that I didn’t. See, the thing about a place like Lacroix is that you have so many outlets. There have been some really notable people who have worked here and put their stamp on the restaurant. So I didn’t have to leave. I saw this place become five different restaurants while remaining true to its core.

You’ve participated in plenty of multi-chef dinners and competitions like Hop Chef. Are these for fun or is it still work?
It’s definitely still work, but there’s a fun aspect to it for sure. The whole goal – besides being fun – is to put people into the seats here, to bring people to the restaurant. I do it to expose people to the food here and to make myself seem more accessible to people. I think the food here scares people sometimes. They have this idea of it being super fancy and hoity-toity. But there is no pretentious vibe here. That’s what’s changing with food and fine dining: You can have fancy food served in a way that’s not stuck up.

Since you are around this elevated food, do you have a favorite dive bar for after work?
I like a lot of dives. I like Loco Pez, I tend to frequent that place a lot. I live right around the corner, and I like that it’s easy and cheap and I can get food late.

You’re from Baltimore originally. Is there any signature Baltimore thing that you’re bringing to the food in Philly?
There’s always Old Bay, right? In the summer we go for soft shell crabs. I love ’em.

Do you have a favorite ingredient?
I don’t know if I have a favorite overall. I go through phases depending on the season. I like acidic things like citrus and vinegar, and bitter things sometimes. It’s not the norm for most people, and I need to remind myself of that sometimes.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…