Born in Los Angeles and raised in Manhattan, Jake Leiber started cooking in professional kitchens as soon as he graduated high school. During college, he spent summers working at Barbuto, the famed West Village restaurant from James Beard award-winning chef Jonathan Waxman. Jake worked alongside many great mentors at Barbuto, including Waxman, chef Roel Alcudia and acclaimed chef Justin Smillie, who he later joined at il Buco Alimentari. Jake made a return to Barbuto in 2012, where he was promoted to chef de cuisine. After a stage at three Michelin starred restaurant Manresa under chef David Kinch, Jake moved back to New York to work under award-winning chef Ignacio Mattos at Estela and later opened Café Altro Paradiso with Mattos, where he met fellow chef Aidan O’Neal, and the two became fast friends. In 2017, Jake and Aidan opened their first restaurant Chez Ma Tante, a lively neighborhood bistro in Greenpoint. The restaurant received favorable reviews and accolades, including GQ’s Best New Restaurant in America in 2018; The New York Time’s Great New York Dishes of 2018; Eater’s Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year 2018; among others.
In 2019, Jake and Aidan opened Le Crocodile, the acclaimed neighborhood brasserie serving French fare garnered a three star review from The New York Times and multiple Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence, and in 2021 they went on to open Bar Blondeau, a cocktail bar on the sixth floor of the Wythe Hotel with unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline.
I hadn’t ever made pancakes until we were creating our brunch menu at Chez Ma Tante. This recipe is based on one from How America Eats by Clementine Paddleford. Adding my own adjustments, using plenty of clarified butter – or bacon fat, the most delicious – has made these one of our most popular dishes… be careful when you’re cooking them as the extra fat in the pan can splatter. You can add banana, chocolate chips or blueberries to the first side just before flipping them. Serve with a large pat of butter and lots of maple syrup.View This Recipe
Photo by: Makani Kirwin