Jeffrey Chrystal

jeff-proJeffrey Chrystal has worked in the professional food service industry since 1983, but his passion for unique, delicious food goes back to his early childhood. One of nine kids, Jeff recalls spending a lot of time with his father, who worked as a chef in a number of restaurants in the Youngstown area.

After graduating with honors in 1983 from Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Chrystal broadened his scope. He traveled to different parts of the world, including China, France, Italy, and Ireland, to learn the finer details and nuances of those different cuisines.

“Cooking is three-dimensional. Reading a cookbook only gives you one dimension,” he says. “You have to be able to see it, smell it, taste it and even hear the food cooking in the sauté pan.”

Chrystal has put his knowledge and experience into action at several restaurants in the Youngstown area, including Jimmy M’s Deli, Moonraker, The Colonial House, and the Ultimate Bar and Grill. As executive chef at Chrystal’s since 1995, he’s earned several accolades and continues to receive critical acclaim for its food and service.

In 1993, he was published in Gourmet Magazine and was named Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation Western Reserve Chapter. He took first place for ice carving in 1994, and earned Best Entrée at Taste of the Valley in 2003 and 2011. In 2012, he won Taste of the Valley’s Best Dessert.

An outdoorsman at heart, cooking outside on a cherry wood-fired grill is his favorite. Chrystal’s catered for the public at the end of the newly constructed runway at the Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station, as well as on a mountaintop for a wedding. While there, he treated the families and their guests to delicious desserts he made from blueberries that grew wild in the area.

Knowing where his food comes from is important to Jeff for maintaining the utmost quality of his dishes. He regularly visits the locations of some of his suppliers, including oyster harvesters in Florida, lobster catchers in Maine, and the wine countries of California, Oregon and Washington.

When he’s not in his kitchen at work, Jeff enjoys honing his skills in his kitchen at home. He also enjoys skiing and spending time with friends and family.

granddaughter

Jeff has been executive chef of Jeffrey Chrystal Catering since 1995. Prior to that, he worked at a number of locations, including:
• Jimmy’s M Deli (1983 – 1984)
• Sous chef at Moonraker, Boardman (1984 – 1988)
• Head chef at The Colonial House, Youngstown (1989)
• Chef at Ultimate Bar and Grill (1990)
• Executive Chef/General Manager at The Colonial House (1990 – 1995)
• Director of Purchasing for Food Service and Dietary Consultant for AmCare Nursing Homes (1990 – 2022)
• Executive chef and partner at Chrystal’s (1995 – 2005)

He’s also earned many accolades, including:
• Published in Gourmet Magazine, December 1993
• Chef of the Year for the American Culinary Federation Western Reserve Chapter, 1993
• First Place for Ice Carving, 1994
• Best Entrée, Taste of the Valley, 2003 & 2011
• Best Dessert, Taste of the Valley, 2012

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