San Diego, CA
Name: Jeff Jackson
Restaurant: The Lodge at Torrey Pines: A.R. Valentien, the Grill at Torrey Pines
Location: La Jolla, CA
Long before ‘locavore’ became mainstream culinary-speak, Executive Chef Jeff Jackson was busy experimenting with seasonal menus and locally sourced ingredients from his post as Executive Chef of The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the AAA Five Diamond resort and spa perched overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. His trademark style of market-driven seasonal cooking at his signature fine dining restaurant, A.R. Valentien, and casual lounge, The Grill at Torrey Pines has helped spawn the farm-to-table movement, with his ever-changing menu as diverse and dynamic as the produce that surrounds the Southern California property.
Chef Works sat down with this storied chef to discuss everything from his favorite culinary trends to what he’s whipping at home. Check out the full Q&A below, and Bon appetit!!
1. Describe the menu at A.R. Valentien in one word:
2. Greatest career highlight so far:
Winning the USA Bocuse d’Or Culinary Gold Cup competition in 1987 and representing the United States in the world competition in Lyon, France is definitely a career highlight.
3. Name the one culinary trend you’re most excited about this year:
Cooking over a wood fire is an exciting trend this year. At The Grill at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, we’re having a lot of fun playing with the flavors that cooking with fire brings out.
4. How do you think fine dining fares in this new world that seems to be obsessed with fast casual everything?
I think the definition of fine dining has changed. People value the quality of fine dining food and service, but often times want a more casual setting.
5. What do you cook when you’re at home?
This time of year I enjoy making soups and moles.
6. Favorite kitchen tool/gadget you can’t live without (besides your favorite Chef Works product, The Montreux Executive Chef Coat?
7. Favorite food city and why?
San Francisco comes to mind because there is such a caring put in the food throughout the city. Lyon, France is another favorite food city because there is an emphasis on technique and the cuisine is classical.
8. Best thing about being a chef is…
I don’t work, I play.
9. Worst thing about being a chef is…
The time commitment can be difficult when raising kids.
10. Bivalves or Bacon?
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