With time spent in each of One Off Hospitality Group’s kitchens, Justin Large is perfectly suited for his role as Director of Culinary Operations. “I was always messing around in the kitchen when I was younger... I remember the first time I tried to make meringue for a pie. It was an unmitigated disaster. I was 8,” says Justin Large.
As Paul Kahan’s right-hand man, Large has come a long way from his childhood of botched culinary experiments. After spending his youth moving up and down the East Coast, he wound up at the University of Florida where he double majored in global business management and economics. While academics brought him to Florida, it was the side jobs he held that would be his calling.
“During my time in college, I worked at several different restaurants in order to make rent. During that period, I became very taken with food, and decided to cook for a living.”
After college, Large made the decision to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America, and the rest, as they say, is history. Following graduation, Large accepted an internship at Paul Kahan’s Blackbird, which evolved into a full time position. Following his time at Blackbird, Large worked as a Chef Tournant at Larkspur in Vail, Colorado and as a line cook at Vie in Western Springs, Illinois. In 2004, Large returned to Chicago and the One Off family for a position as Sous Chef at avec under Chef Koren Grieveson. He went on to hold various positions at One Off Hospitality Group restaurants, establishing himself at The Violet Hour as Consulting Chef in 2007, then as Chef Tournant for The Publican in the summer of 2009 and finally as opening Chef de Cuisine at Big Star in fall of 2009. Large was promoted to Director of Culinary Operations in 2013, and spends his time moving from restaurant to restaurant, fine-tuning each location’s back of house operations.