This is part one of my interview with David Payne, executive chef of Jelly Cafe; part two of our chat will run tomorrow.
My mom," sighs David Payne, "wasn't a good cook. At all." Peppers -- green bells -- cemented with ground meat and rice were a "full-on special dinner at the Payne house," he recalls, and his parents, who still live in San Antonio, the city where he grew up, consider Olive Garden a top-drawer restaurant. "For them, it's fine dining, and they love it, and that's okay, because my parents are great," says the 41-year-old chef of Jelly Cafe, a duo of quirky breakfast-and-lunch joints that couldn't be more different from the childhood chains he frequented -- and worked in.