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Interview with Chef de Cuisine at Terrace in the Sky, Jason Potanovich

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 27, 2006
Terrace in the Sky Restaurant
400 West 119th Street
(Btw. Morningside Dr. & Amsterdam Ave.)
New York, NY 10027
212-666-9490
(See Reviews of Terrace in the Sky's "Jazz in the Sky")

About the Author:
Between Christmas and New Year's Eve, Robert Abrams and I (ExploreDance.com) were joined by leaders of the New York team of Freed of London, makers of fine ballet toe shoes and dance clothing for many dance genres. Julienne, Angela, and Albert joined us at Terrace in the Sky, where we looked out on a clear night of sparkling stars and New York's shimmering skyline. Terrace in the Sky is quite busy during the Holidays, and red wreaths and ribbons enhanced the single, long stem red roses, placed on each, elegant table. Our winter entrées included grilled dorade, a whole fish that is prepared for serving at tableside, pan-fried turbot, with single-process extra virgin olive oil, roast, plump chicken breast, filet mignon, and grilled venison. Among our appetizers were selections, such as Maine diver sea scallops, Jonah crab, and grilled octopus, and desserts included crème brûlée, chocolate bomb, and fig tart. Jason Potanovich, Chef de Cuisine, stopped by our table, after sending over complimentary anchovy starter appetizers.

Earlier in the evening, I managed to chat with Jason Potanovich, prior to the evening's dinner service. Wallingford, Connecticut-born Jason graduated in 1996 from the Culinary Institute of America. Jason is the son of a catering chef, and his early training was at a steakhouse in North Haven, CT and at an inn in Williamsburg, VA, both featuring traditional American cuisine. Jason has been Chef de Cuisine at Terrace in the Sky since 1996 and is now part of the Terrace family, having married Mirella, the niece of the owner, Nada Bernic. Nada's son, Chris Bernic, is Host and Sommelier at Terrace in the Sky, and the two meet often to pair wines and food for nightly customers, as well as for special banquets and events. In fact, there are often weddings and other celebrations at Terrace in the Sky, including a New Year's Eve dinner-dance, Valentine's Day dinner and guitar-harp music, and the ongoing outdoor (sometimes indoor) jazz series, "Jazz in the Sky".

Jason Potanovich has explored food preparation and presentation in Europe and in many American cities. The Bernic family is originally from the island of Rab, in Croatia, where they also own a resort, and Jason has acquired a taste for the culinary simplicity of Rab's fine restaurants. His favorite dining experiences have been in London, with its international versatility in cooking and eclectic fish, meats, and vegetables. Asked about Jason's favorite cooking style and ingredients, he mentions Adriatic-Mediterranean. Jason likes to prepare whole fish, such as John Dory (aka St. Pierre), as well as organic vegetables, like heirloom tomatoes, of which there are 160 varieties, and like silver queen corn. For spice, Jason prefers allspice, star anise (in marinades), and juniper. Some of his favorite specials include white truffles with wild mushroom risotto, enhanced with cave-aged parmesan, and turbot from the Bering Strait, off the coast of France. Jason has a team of nine in his kitchen, with two assistant chefs, and he personally supervises, six days/week.

Asked how he plans for a restaurant that can seat 200, Jason confides that although he checks weather reports and considers holidays and other contingencies, you just have to rely on judgment and experience. His purveyors shop for the finest in produce, meat, cheese, breads, dry goods, fish, and more, but Chef Jason bakes his own desserts. In fact, Jason creates flambées, soufflés, brûlées, tarts, sorbets, and custom cakes for any occasion. He once baked a Terrace special event cake for 165 with six tiers. When entertaining clients, friends, family, a date, or just yourself, Terrace in the Sky has the perfect menu with an outstanding view. Chef de Cuisine, Jason Potanovich will be sure you have memories of a delightful and delicious dining experience. Ask for Chris or Nada, and tell them you saw them on ExploreDance.com.
Jason Potanovich, Chef de Cuisine, in his Kitchen

Jason Potanovich, Chef de Cuisine, in his Kitchen

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Jason Potanovich, Chef de Cuisine, in his Kitchen

Jason Potanovich, Chef de Cuisine, in his Kitchen

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Kitchen Interior at Terrace in the Sky

Kitchen Interior at Terrace in the Sky

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Kitchen Interior at Terrace in the Sky

Kitchen Interior at Terrace in the Sky

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Anchovy Appetizer Starter

Anchovy Appetizer Starter

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Julienne, Roberta, Albert, Jason, Angela, and Robert

Julienne, Roberta, Albert, Jason, Angela, and Robert

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Jonah Crab and Caviar Appetizer

Jonah Crab and Caviar Appetizer

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Grilled Octopus with Calamari Appetizer

Grilled Octopus with Calamari Appetizer

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


John Prepares Julienne's Grilled Dorade at Tableside

John Prepares Julienne's Grilled Dorade at Tableside

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Turbot with Olive Oil and Heirloom Tomatoes

Turbot with Olive Oil and Heirloom Tomatoes

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Angela's Fig Tart and Ice Cream

Angela's Fig Tart and Ice Cream

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Albert's Chocolate Bomb Dessert

Albert's Chocolate Bomb Dessert

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower


Julienne's Crème Brûlée

Julienne's Crème Brûlée

Photo © & courtesy of Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

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