You may not know Chef Jamie Russell by name yet, but if you’ve ever been to The Still, then chances are that you’re already a fan of his work. Chef Jamie has been cooking at The Still since it opened in 2016, and is responsible for creating and executing the delicious menu items on a daily basis. You’re most likely to see him in the heart of the restaurant, Bud Bud’s, a refurbished Airstream trailer which acts as a visual centerpiece and the restaurant kitchen all at once.
We caught up with Chef Jamie to pick his brain about his work at The Still. From how he creates a dish to how he keeps his cool during a crazy dinner rush to what he likes to eat from the menu, this interview offers a unique peek into the life of a Chef.
How long have you worked at The Still, and how did you end up there?
I have worked for Clique Hospitality and The Still since February 2016. I opened The Still in March 2016. I ended up here after talking with Chef Brian (Massie, partner in the Clique Hospitality Group and chef at Hearthstone Kitchen and Cellar) and made the move to come work for Clique.
Can you tell us a little bit about your backstory as a chef?
Growing up, I never wanted to be a Chef. I actually wanted to be a firefighter, which I accomplished by age 19 for the Los Angeles City Fire Department. I was there for 7 1/2 years. While at the station, we would have to switch off taking turns cooking each shift. The guys would actually pay me to cook for them because they all loved my cooking.
Long story short and some years later, I left the department and went to culinary school at The Art Institute of California in Santa Monica. After graduating in 2000, I went and worked for some of my Chef Mentors, spending years honing in on my skills and becoming the Chef I am today. I found my way to Las Vegas in 2005, where I started working for the Light Group and I opened STACK restaurant, BARE Pool, and Diablo’s Cantina. I have worked at BRAND Steakhouse, FIX, Citizens and LIGHT Pool.
How would you describe the menu at The Still to someone who had never visited?
Our menu is hip, fun and not your typical bar food. I like to think I am changing the way people eat at bars.
You work in a rather unusual kitchen setting. Please, can you tell us a bit about Bud Bud’s (a refurbished Airstream trailer which acts as the restaurant kitchen) and how it is that you work out of it?
Yes, It is quite unusual, lol When I was brought on to open The Still, I thought to myself, “What in the world am I going to do out of that thing?”. Lol! Yes, it is not the regular type of kitchen I was used to working out of. It is a first here in Las Vegas, an actual Airstream turned into a working kitchen and placed in the back of a restaurant. I love our concept here, we rock out a lot of food in that Airstream!
8,000 square feet of restaurant means there can be a lot of eaters in your establishment. How do you keep service running smoothly when things get busy?
First, it starts with communication. It is key in any restaurant setting, whether it’s with the front of the house staff or my cooks. Second, we have such awesome employees here at The Still. They all work so hard to make this happen day to day. I personally like to have my finger on everything going on in my restaurant. This is how I am able to keep up with service.
The Still has an incredible list of cocktails, wine, and beer. When crafting new dishes, do you consider how they will pair with drinks? Or do you have a different approach?
Yes we do have some incredible lists of cocktails and beers. I don’t try and pair food with cocktails here at The Still. When creating dishes, I try and keep in mind what is going on at the time in our industry and craft dishes using as much as locally sourced product as possible. Keep it simple and put a lot of love into it. No matter what you decide to drink or eat while visiting us here at The Still, it all pairs great together, especially when you’re watching your favorite team playing on one of our 27 big screen TVs.
It seems as if The Still, as the ultimate man cave, would draw quite a crowd on game days. What are some of the most popular menu items on game days?
To be honest, during games we sell our full menu. But if I have to narrow it down to what is most popular during a game, it would have to be Chicken Wings and Double Sliders. We offer 3 signature flavors for our wings: Spicy Korean, Classic BBQ, and Buffalo Sauce. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Our Sliders are fresh, never frozen, made to order. All hits here at The Still.
What’s your personal favorite item (or items) from The Still’s menu?
Favorites…well, I like everything! Lol. If I had to choose, I would say, Big Eye Tuna Poke Bowl, and Crispy Lobster Tacos with Mango Salsa.
What are you eating on your day off?
On my day off, to be honest I keep it simple at home, unless my wife and kids want something in particular.
What’s the next thing you’re excited about at The Still?
Every year we offer breakfast for football season on Saturday and Sundays. We open at 9am, so I’m pretty excited about that. I also added a couple new lunch and dinner menu items rolling out this Friday. We are always doing something new over here at The Still.
Come and check out Jamie’s incredible work at The Still! Whether you’re enjoying beer and wings while watching the big game or bonding with buddies over cheeseburgers and chili dogs, you’re bound to leave the restaurant feeling deeply satisfied and appreciative of Jamie’s work.
What’s your favorite menu item at The Still?