What chefs cook at home: John Cleveland’s Classic Homemade Pancakes
“So many things happen when you bite into something you connect with, you know?” says John Cleveland, owner and head chef of Post & Beam restaurant in Baldwin Hills. “It sparks memories. It sparks feelings.
“When you get to enjoy that with other people, that’s what makes a bond happen, and when you do it regularly, it happens even more often.”
Cleveland took the reins of Post & Beam last July after two years of leading the kitchen at this community-oriented comfort food eatery. His wife, Roni, is maître d’ and events director at the award-winning restaurant, so they make the most of their time at home with their 3-year-old son.
“We’re at the restaurant so much, it becomes a second home,” Cleveland says. “[There’s] a lot of value in eating together and being at home and just bonding through food. So, yeah, I cook at home, and my family [cooks] together. It’s one of the things we try to do pretty often.”
Post & Beam is itself a homey restaurant, serving hand-stretched pizzas, smoked BBQ baby back ribs with red cabbage slaw, fried jerked catfish, classic pound cake and more. There’s even a fruit and herb garden on its patio. But Cleveland’s culinary approach is slightly different when he’s cooking at his actual home in South L.A.
“In-home cooking is really for nourishment,” he says. “I’m not a very picky eater. I just love to eat! My in-home cooking is more guided toward that. I don’t season things as heavily.”
Cleveland says that his cooking was a big part of how he won over the woman who would become his wife. He characterizes today’s demands from his family for his home cooking as “intense.”
“My son, he loves pizza — I mean, loves the stuff! He wakes me up some days asking about pizza,” Cleveland says. “So, pizza is kind of our thing. It’s our lunch thing. We make sure we just make it fresh.”
Breakfast is also big in the Cleveland household, as it’s typically the one meal guaranteed to bring the family together before busy days at Post & Beam. This morning ritual reaches back to the chef’s own upbringing in Oakland and North Carolina.
“Pancakes is like a Cleveland family tradition,” he says. “We always had pancakes, bacon and eggs every Sunday morning, and grits. It was just clockwork: We woke up to the smell of bacon and pancakes. So that’s something that we do as well.”
Cleveland’s Classic Homemade Pancakes are simple to prepare using Good & Gather eggs, Good & Gather Double-Acting Baking Powder (for reliable volume and texture), and Good & Gather butter, all of which are exclusively available at Target.
John Cleveland’s Classic Homemade Pancakes
Yield: 6 to 8 pancakes
2 cups Good & Gather Flour
1 ½ tsp Good & Gather Double-Acting Baking Powder
1 tsp Good & Gather Baking Soda
2 ½ tbsp Good & Gather Granulated Sugar
2 Good & Gather Large Organic Cage-Free Eggs (lightly beaten)
3 cups buttermilk
3 oz. Good & Gather Unsalted Butter (melted)
Combine dry and wet ingredients separately. Mix together. Keep refrigerated.
Cook on non-stick pan over medium-low heat.