Jeremy Fox is just days away from opening up his new restaurant, Birdie G’s, at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, and reality is setting in. “We’re holding on for dear life,” says the James Beard Award-nominated chef. “I’m just worried about throwing a party and no one showing up.”
Fox need not be concerned. Having made a name for himself as chef de cuisine at David Kinch’s Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, then opening Ubuntu in Napa, where he earned the restaurant a Michelin star, now, whatever he touches turns to culinary gold, whether it’s elevating vegetables to superstar status or creating a menu daily from farmers market ingredients.
But Birdie G’s, named after Fox’s 3-year-old daughter and his grandmother Gladys, feels deeply personal. “My grandmother was always cooking,” he says. “She made me love food. I went from being someone who wouldn’t eat anything if I saw a trace of onion in it to an 8-year-old who would eat beef tongue because my grandfather did, and I wanted to be cool like him.”
Expect Fox’s dishes to feel familiar yet surprising. “I don’t think anything is a direct copy of what the original was. It’s what the soul of the dish is,” says Fox, who hopes to evoke the emotion he felt watching his grandmother in the kitchen. “The idea is to have food [that makes] you think, ‘Wow! I totally forgot about this.’”
Grand-opening jitters aside, the Cleveland, Ohio, native appears to have found his happy place in Santa Monica, where he also oversees Rustic Canyon and Tallula’s. “My two favorite places are in the kitchen tinkering or at home with my wife and daughter,” he says. He admits there is one area where his culinary skills fall short: “Everyone thinks Birdy must be the best eater because my wife is an amazing cook and I work in restaurants. But I’m not supersuccessful getting her to eat her vegetables.” 310.310.3616