A New Year, A New Chef de Cuisine: Q&A with Jonathan Bautista

A New Year, A New Chef de Cuisine: Q&A with Jonathan Bautista

We're starting off 2014 with a new Chef de Cuisine in California Modern. Jonathan Bautista joined us from Kitchen 1540 at L'Auberge Del Mar and we're excited to add his culinary and leadership skills to our team. I recently sat down with Jon and asked him a few questions. Here's what he had to say.

What inspired you to take the job of Chef de Cuisine at George's California Modern? 

To me, Chef Trey and California Modern are at the forefront of representing and defining San Diego Cuisine. I experienced TBL3 a couple months back and was blown away. The food was exceptional, but the experience as a whole was unforgettable. So, the inspiration for any passionate chef to take a job at an iconic San Diego restaurant is a no-brainer.

How well did you know Chef Foshee before taking the position?

I had never met Chef Trey in person prior to the TBL3 experience. I knew what he was doing because I followed him through all his social media handles. That's how I knew he was looking for a Chef de Cuisine. Two days after I applied for the position, he popped in for dinner with his wife and the rest was history.

What excites you most about working alongside Chef Foshee? 

I think the thing I’m most excited for is having him as a mentor. His experiences and success are going to help me grow as a person, chef, manager and businessman. Chefs like Trey think on a different level. It’s hard to explain, but I want to be on that level.

How do you think you best complement Chef Foshee? What unique qualities or perspective do you bring to the job? 

I think we complement each other so well because we are so different. Chef Trey is such a purist when it comes to cooking. Food that’s not overthought. Letting the ingredient shine. As a young cook I think the same way about ingredients, but I tend to overthink things. Pushing ideas back and forth and questioning eachother is essential in the creative process, so two creative minds coming together can’t be a bad thing.

How do you think California Modern fits into the local dining scene?  

I think California Modern is at the top of San Diego’s dining scene. It has what every great restaurant needs – great food and drink, outstanding service and a comfortable environment – plus the best view in San Diego.

What would you tell a local who has not been into California Modern lately, or at all?  

You need to come in and dine. Let the experience speak for itself.

What are some of your favorite local ingredients, and why? 

Our local uni is amazing – some of the best I’ve ever had. And Chino Farms produce is the most pristine and delicious product I have ever used and cooked with.

What do you like to do when you're not working? What do you do for fun? 

I like to eat out. San Diego’s craft beer scene has blown up and I love to check out different breweries. Four nights a week, I go to the gym to stay healthy. I collect cookbooks. I also love football. Go Chargers!

What else should we know about you?

I love my family. I love San Diego.

Follow Jon:

Twitter: @jonbauti
Instagram: jonbauti