Amos Watts, the chef de cuisine at Jax Fish House in LoDo, did not think about a culinary career until he was in college. Born in Illinois and raised in Omaha, Watts was raised in a family that enjoyed home-cooking. His skill was tested in restaurants from Chicago to Miami and San Francisco where he worked in positions that ranged from pastry chef to sous-chef at the famed Cyrus restaurant in California. In anticipation of Mother's Day, Eater chatted with Eve Watts, Amos's mother about the role of food in his upbringing and the first signs that he would pursue a culinary career.
Looking back, I didn't always know that Amos would become a chef, but I knew that he'd do well in whatever he decided to do. Now, his career choice does make a lot of sense. Not only did he grow up around great food and recipes handed down from both his grandparents and great grandparents, he was always very particular about his food. It had to be made just right!
Amos often visited his grandparents' grain farm near St. Louis. He learned about food from farm to table when it was normal and not a trend and he helped harvest the fresh vegetables that were grown and then served. Even his Chicago grandparents had a huge backyard garden. So he learned at an early age to appreciate fresh produce. My husband Eric was raised on the farm, so wherever we have lived, we've found a way to have a garden with fresh herbs and tomatoes.
Cooking delicious food for large groups is a given in our family and our roots are in Polish and German cuisine with a dash of Italian thrown in. Since Eric and I have become empty-nesters, we've been drawn to making quick and easy frittatas for just about any meal. It isn't often enough that we get to share those meals with Amos anymore.
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