More from chef Jay Sparks, of D'Amico and Partners

  • Updated: April 24, 2013 - 2:24 PM

jay sparks on . . .

Remaining relevant: “We try, but it’s not easy. Everyone wants to go to the newest place, and that’s understandable. We have to give them a reason to come back.”

Ingredients: “This is the best time to cook, right now, when we’re just starting to see the pea shoots, the ramps, garlic scapes. It’s such an exciting time to be in the kitchen.”

Mentoring: “I think Tim McKee has become the mentor in town. There are so many people who have worked underneath him, and with him. I don’t even know where to begin. He’s definitely going to leave his mark on this town.”

Cookbooks: “I came out of the M.F.K. Fisher-Richard Olney generation. Right now I’m impressed with [Maricel Presilla’s] ‘Gran Cocina Latina.’ It’s a masterpiece.”

Discipline: “Kitchen people are sociopaths; they’re crazy. It’s a certain mentality; it requires a certain toughness. When you’re getting your butt handed to you on a busy night, you’ve got to be tough. The leeway for mistakes is slim to none. You have to be prepared for an unforgiving environment.”

Dining out: “We don’t go out much. I’ve got my list of places that I need to get to, but it’s typically takeout from Quang, or I cook. Mostly, we like to hang out at home.”

address book

Cafe Lurcat and Bar Lurcat, 1624 Harmon Place, Mpls., 612-486-5500, www.cafelurcat.com

Campiello, 6411 City West Pkwy., Eden Prairie, 952-941-6868, www.campiello.damico.com

Masa, 1070 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-338-6272, www.masa-restaurant.com

Parma 8200, 5600 W. 83rd St., Bloomington, 952-896-8888, www.parma8200.com

about the series

Find profiles from our Great Chefs series — including James Winberg and Mike Brown of Travail Kitchen & Amusements, Sameh Wadi of Saffron Restaurant & Lounge, Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer of Chef Shack, Jamie Malone of Sea Change, John Kraus of Patisserie 46 and

Marshall Paulsen of Birchwood Cafe — and view photos and video at Startribune.com/greatchefs.

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  • Great chefs of Minnesota: D'Amico's Jay Sparks

    Thursday April 25, 2013

    Low-profile but high-impact D’Amico executive chef Jay Sparks has quietly improved the local dining landscape while mentoring a generation of chefs.

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