By Susan Payne
Sitting inside Jonah’s Kitchen, an elevated yet fast-paced casual eatery in Santa Monica, is like having a meal with the celebrity chef himself, an al fresco dining experience.
Chef Jonah Johnson opened the restaurant in June, inspired by his travels through Latin America and lovingly prepared – organic dishes, fresh vegetables, gravy and dishes cooked on a wood-fired grill.
“When we take the meats out of the smokehouse, everything we do starts from zero. It was a dream to open this up and express the types of food and cooking that I love to do, ”Johnson said. “It takes after the experience you would have with me.”
Although he has traveled the world extensively, Johnson Restaurant is an ode to the people in his life he learned from: food and flavors from a multicultural ethnic background.
Mexican, Caribbean, Italian and Korean, Johnson said, his menu is a mix of cultural dishes over an open fire.
“I’ve experienced all of these flavors, I’ve traveled and lived in some of these places, and wanted to bring a multicultural assortment of barbecues in the same way that different cultures cook their food on fire,” he said. declared.
Growing up in California, Jonah found behind the grill with his dad more fun than playing basketball with the neighborhood kids. At the age of 10, his intense love for food began with a question: how did raw meat in the fire or fresh ingredients from the garden become such a good thing.
“My dad is a grill master, and I was intrigued by this as a kid, smelling the barbecue and seeing the quirky stove and wondering why it tastes so good,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s aunt, Bethann, who lived in Minnesota, was another cooking influence in her life. Bethann was a southern style cook who made sauces out of thin air.
On the other side of the Johnson family, Swedish, Serbian and Eastern European food perfumed the air.
“Ever since I was a kid, the food around me was always very different, but it was always very good. I have never been stuck in a culture’s food. When I arrived in California, I fell in love with Mexican and Latin cuisine, ”he said.
Johnson’s journey of “trying other people’s food” has led him on a career path that has adapted to this lifestyle, traveling and cooking for famous clients including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Gisele Bundchen. He also had the pleasure of cooking for Mick Jagger, Al Pacino, Tobey Maguire, Clint Eastwood, Tarantino and Steven Spielberg, to name a few.
“This is the main reason I wanted to travel. I wanted to eat other people’s food and be inspired. I don’t eat in hotel restaurants, I want to eat what people eat all the time, ”Johnson said.
Jonah’s Kitchen, the highlight of his dining experience and travels, offers a unique menu, designed for locals and visitors to LA.
Here are some choices:
- K-Town Chicken
- Ribs “Argentine Parilla” STYLE
- Crispy Potatoes
- Steamed rice (Koshihikari)
- Gochujang Shrimp Tacos
- Vegan King’s Tacos
- Rice Pilaf with Grilled Vegetables
- Porterhouse Steak (for groups)
“We cook everything from scratch. When you have fresh vegetables, beautiful pork ribs from sustainable, high-quality farms, and Japanese steamed rice, and nothing processed, you feel the difference. Johnson said.
Jonah’s Kitchen is located at 2518 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 12 p.m. Lunch hours are from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant is closed everyday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.