When Jacob Hough was working at McDonald's in high school, he knew he wanted a career in the culinary arts.
After a representative from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute visited his high school for a career day, Hough's decision was made.
"I was always drawn to it," he said. "The culinary world is awesome."
As of two weeks ago, Hough became executive chef of Barcelona, one of German Village's most celebrated restaurants.
While chefs come and go in many restaurants, Barcelona had managed extraordinary continuity.
Paul Yow, who had served as executive chef of the restaurant during nearly all of its 16 years in business, recently opened Natalie's downtown with his wife, Hae Ran.
"The team works together better when there is not constant changes especially with a management position," said Scott Heimlich, who owns the restaurant.
"The stability is also important for what the guests see and perceive.
"Food quality should always stay consistent and there are no sudden changes to the menu and preparation of dishes," Heimlich said.
Hough, who has been at Barcelona for three years, said he's up to the challenge.
"I am comfortable," he said. "I have been groomed for this position."
Heimlich said he's confident in Hough's abilities.
"Jacob is an incredibly talented chef," Heimlich said.
"Besides his cooking techniques and his ability to create incredible dishes, he is also a great leader in the kitchen with our staff. Jacob has a thirst for knowledge and is always trying to learn more about Spanish cuisine and what we can do at Barcelona to incorporate more ingredients and dishes."
Hough said he likes Barcelona's forward-thinking approach to cuisine.
"We're always looking for the next best thing to do," he said.
After graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, he worked for Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.
Returning to Ohio, he worked for Hyde Park Restaurants and then at Bexley's Monk.
Hough said he will have plenty of opportunity to tweak the menu.
In keeping with tradition, three to four entrees will change weekly, plus a few starters.
Hough said he wants to expand the tapas menu, as well.
But he doesn't want loyal customers to get nervous.
"I just want them to know things are going to change a little," he said.
"I'm not trying to change the brand. I'm not trying to fix what's not broken."