Chef's choice / Jennifer Boye
Show eating at Grover's
Current restaurant: The Mansion On Delaware
Current title: Executive chef
Years in current job: Six and a half
Years in the business: Fifteen
Formal education: Erie County Community College, City Campus
Style of cooking: “Each of our menus is created to order so I have to be proficient in every style.”
As the executive chef at Buffalo’s premier small luxury hotel, the Mansion On Delaware, Jennifer Boye doesn’t have the luxury of working from a set menu sprinkled with a few daily specials. Each of the approximately 225 menus she creates in a given year is made to order, based on the tastes and desires of individual clients. On one night, she may make a quiet private meal for a celebrity; on another, she may be catering a wedding reception with 225 guests.
The Cleveland Hill High School graduate was born into an Irish/German “food family.” “I knew around the age of eleven or twelve that I wanted to be a chef,” Boye says. After a brief detour studying physical therapy, she enrolled in Erie Communiy College to study the culinary arts. Soon, she found herself working in the kitchen at Transit Valley Country Club and then as sous chef at the Mansion. After a nearly four years as head chef at the late Fiddleheads on Allen Street, she’s returned to the Mansion as executive chef.
Although the demands of the Mansion require culinary flexibility, Boye’s approach is rooted in a Mediterranean-influenced cooking that emphasizes fresh locally grown or raised ingredients with a focus on quality over quantity.
“People have progressively become more health conscious but when they go out for a meal, they still want to treat themselves,” Boye observes. “They notice when you use the best raw material.” One thing you won’t find at the Mansion is “tall food”—clever arrangements of food stacked on a plate—or frivolous adornment. “Properly prepared food presented on a clean white plate speaks volumes,” maintains Boye.
What do you like to make at home?
Jennifer Boye: I’m a homebody; I like fixing dishes that evoke feelings of comfort, such as slow-braised osso bucco, or my favorite breakfast: a fried egg with cottage cheese, tomatoes, and toast.
And when you go out?
When I have a night off, I love to go out and frequent some of the restaurants here that are doing great things. What Steve and Ellen [Gedra] are doing at Bistro Europa is phenomenal. I just wish I could get over there more often. I also love a big cheeseburger at Grover’s Bar and Grill.
What does Buffalo need, restaurant-wise?
We could use more ethnic restaurants that are really proficient. I’d like to see an African cuisine restaurant in Buffalo. We’ll always be a chicken wing town in some ways, but Nickel City Chef has done a tremendous job, because it makes people more aware of what’s out there and it also keeps people on their toes. I definitely want to stay in the area because I’m excited to see what’s coming.
Your favorite nationally known chef?
Lydia Bastianich. I love her take on cooking—the way she is steeped in tradition but brings in modern aspects.
What keeps you excited about cooking?
At the end of a long day, our kitchen feels rejuvenated when people stop in and tell us that they really enjoyed their evening because of the food we prepared. That gives us the incentive to keep trying new things.