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

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

The Word

Lupita Nyong'o is People's Most Beautiful

Congratulations to Lupita Nyong'o, officially the most beautiful human on the face of planet Earth (2014 season).

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Breaking down the Sixers top draft options

With the NBA Playoffs now in full force, there’s only one thing on the mind of Sixers fans at the moment -- the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery.

MLB

Metro one-on-one: Q&A with Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere

Charlie Manuel used to say that the Phillies go as Jimmy Rollins goes. Well, Ryne Sandberg might have a new Phillies catalyst, Ben Revere, in his midst.

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins…

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins men's race

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.