Master Chef Jean Joho’s Crème Brûlée Recipe

Known the world over for having made an indelible mark on the culinary world with his exquisite personal cuisine, Chef J. Joho humbly entered the profession as a 6-year-old, peeling vegetables in his aunt’s restaurant kitchen in Alsace, France. His formal training began as a 13-year-old apprentice for Paul Haeberlin of the acclaimed L’Auberge de L’Ill, and continued in kitchens in France, Italy and Switzerland. By the age of 23, Joho was the sous chef at a Michelin three-star restaurant where he commanded a 35-person staff. It was while he was studying at the Hotel Restaurant School in Strasbourg that Joho immersed himself in the hotel and restaurant business, as well as the arts of pastry, cheese and wine.

Joho’s rise to international success began on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange with Everest, which is now one of the world’s premier dining rooms. Today, his establishments across the country in Chicago (Everest, Paris Club Bistro & Bar, Studio Paris), Boston (Brasserie JO) and Las Vegas (Eiffel Tower Restaurant) set standards for dining and win accolades at every turn. Joho is also a partner in several other concepts, including Chicago’s Nacional 27 and M Burger.

Hugely inspired by the arts, Joho has filled his home and restaurants with the work of many of his friends, including Ivo Soldini, the Swiss sculptor whose bronze statues adorn each of the tables at Everest, and John Westmark, the painter. Joho has also authored “The Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook: Capturing the magic of Paris” where he shared 50 of his signature dishes, transporting the magic of Paris into kitchens of gourmet homes across the country.

Recently, Chef Joho and his team at Everest were awarded four stars by Phil Vettel in his re-review in Chicago Tribune. Last year he was named ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ by Gayot.

I love Crème Brûlée. It is a classic dessert that seems simple, but it’s important to do it the right way so that the flavors of the vanilla and cream shine. Make sure to cook the custard the same day you will eat it, so the texture  stays soft and creamy, in contrast to the crisp coating of caramelized sugar.


1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
12 tablespoons sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
Fresh raspberries, strawberries or blackberries for garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, half-and-half, vanilla bean and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Warm over medium heat just until the steam rises. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, egg, 4 tablespoons of sugar and the salt. Whisk to blend. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup. Discard the vanilla bean pod. Divide the mixture among six shallow ramekins. Place the dishes in a baking pan and then carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Add boiling water to the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards for 35 to 45 minutes, or until just set.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool completely. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least one hour or up to six hours. Dust each custard evenly with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar and caramelize it with a kitchen blowtorch, or under a broiler two inches from heat source for one minute, watching carefully to make sure the sugar does not burn.

Let cool for a few minutes. Serve each ramekin on a dessert plate, garnished with berries.

440 S. LaSalle Street, 40th Fl., Chicago, IL 60605

Located in an unforgettable setting on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Everest allows you and your guests the opportunity to take in the glittering skyline while enjoying Chef/Proprietor J. Joho’s world-renowned personalized French cuisine. Consisting of the finest seasonal fare made with local and regional ingredients, our menus complement an award-winning wine-list that includes the largest collection of Alsace wines in the world. Our luxurious private dining rooms, which can accommodate any size affair from an intimate dinner to a 175-guest soirée, come alive with attentive service and fulfilled requests including personalized menus, customized décor, music, audio-visual presentations, and displays. As the only Chicago member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux, Five-Diamond AAA Everest is also a member of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, Maitre Cuisiniers de France, and Academie Culinaire. A complimentary valet is always offered. Reservations can be made by calling 312-663-8920 or visiting the Everest website.

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