Though Jake Novick-Finder was raised in Brooklyn—and currently heads up the kitchen at Park Slope’s outstanding seasonal restaurant, Gristmill—he made his name as a pastry chef in the confusingly similarly named Brookline (MA). He was the pastry chef at a restaurant there called Ribelle, a place that burned hotly and brightly: its chef/owner, Tim Maslow, produced upmarket twists on comfort food (which drew the inevitable David Chang comparisons), and quickly got the attention of places like the James Beard Foundation and Food & Wine magazine. Novick-Finder’s parallel Changian work (“chocolate dipped twists, cake from a box, and refrigerator aisle pudding cups,” according to Star Chefs) earned him a spot on another 30 Under 30 List, from Zagat, last year; but make sure to enjoy his latest creations—a dip into richly-flavored ancient grains and seasonal ingredients—now, in Park Slope.
Where do you live and how old are you?
Park Slope, Brooklyn, 26.
What made you first interested in your profession, and how old were you when that happened? I always loved food and my parents exposed me to eating great food at a young age. I started interning at 12 at Chanterelle and fell in love with the kitchen and restaurants immediately.
Do you feel Brooklyn is still a viable place for a young person to build a career? Absolutely, challenging but exciting.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope to have several small food businesses—I don’t know what yet but think Gristmill + ice cream shop…
Have you ever felt like leaving your career path? No.
What’s felt like you’re biggest professional accomplishment? Opening my first restaurant.
What’s some advice you’d give to people trying to get a foothold in your industry? Go to the restaurant you want to learn at most and ask for a chance, prove you can do it.
Who are your role models in your industry? Michael Anthony, Nancy Olson, Sam Mason
Who would be your pick for a 30 Under 30? Maria, my girlfriend, who quietly helps run Gristmill and keeps it afloat!
Should we all move to LA? No—why would we do that?
To learn about 29 more sub-30 standouts, visit this year’s list of 30 Under 30.