On the Line: Jason “Chicken Wang” Montelibano of Chapter One: The Modern Local, Part Two

Chicken Wang — we mean, Jason Montelibano gives us a little more perspective on what he's all about. And we couldn't help but ask one stereotypical question about his choice of profession.

Read our interview with Jason Montelibano of Chapter One: The Modern Local, part one.
And now, on to part two . . .

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
Something where I could make people happy. Most likely nursing.

When we were growing up, there was an expectation we would become a nurse. What were the expectations placed on you, and how did your family respond to your decision?
There was an expectation of being a nurse when I was growing up. But once I told my parents that I was going into cooking, they were fine with it. It meant they could always have guests, and I'd get to cook for them.


Hardest lesson you've learned:
To love others, you must love yourself first.

When you're not in the kitchen, what are you doing?
I usually play pick-up basketball games at the gym or park. Other than that, I'm working on my car and my 1980 Honda cb750 motorcycle.

Where did you grow up?
Manila, Philippines.

What's your favorite childhood memory?
Hiding in my dad's guitar case. He played a lot of folk songs, and I'd always hide from my sister or listen to my dad play in there.

When you go online, what's on your homepage?
Lakers.com. Purple and gold all day!

Do you have any skills that are non-food-related?
I play the drums, and I can kind of sing.

Last thing you looked up:
How to cook ram, or mountain sheep. I know a couple of the guys who work downstairs at Copper Door, and one of them is a hunter and fisherman. Sometimes he and some of his buddies will bring what they caught for us to cook. He said they'd be in with some ram tenderloin his buddy caught; I thought it was going to taste super-gamey, but when I tried it, it was very delicate.

Last song playing on your radio:
“Bittersweet” by Kanye West, featuring John Mayer.

Last movie watched, and how was it?
The last movie I watched was Rush. It was good. Being inside of a Formula One car is on the bucket list.

What does your “Chicken Wang” nickname come from?
From [Chapter One co-owner] Jeff Hall when he used to run expo [Editor's Note: kitchen term for the expeditor], and I was just a lead line cook. It's kind of a long story, but if you want to know more, we could chat it out over a cocktail at Chapter One. [Editor's Note: He eventually shared with us, but it's more of a visual tale. We still owe you a drink, Jason!]

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