{ CHEF PROFILE }

SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT

Chef Jason Ford is excited to continue the tradition of Beaumont’s

Photos BY Noushin Nourizadeh

Jason Ford had an impressive résumé when he was hired at Beaumont’s Eatery in the Bird Rock community of La Jolla last year. He had spent the previous 18 years slowly climbing the culinary arts ladder, learning from many talented top chefs including Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio, and Wolfgang Puck. He also participated in a James Beard House Dinner and contributed recipes to The American Heart Association cookbook, coming in first in a national competition of nearly 1,500 competitors.

But that’s not what got him the job. “Chef Jason has the can-do, won’t-quit attitude that we were looking for,” says Megan Heine, the restaurant’s co-owner. From day one he felt right at home, focusing on modern comfort food from around the world and continuing the tradition that Beaumont’s has created over the past 15 years.

You’ve received many accolades in your career as a chef. What makes you the proudest? Accolades aside, what I value most is the relationships that I build with my staff. I love being able to impart my knowledge, spark curiosity, and watch them grow as professionals.

What’s the greatest compliment you like to hear as a chef? Most everyone is nice when a chef comes to the table, so I take personal compliments with a grain of salt. For me, the greatest compliment is seeing an empty plate come back to the kitchen. I also love hearing the wait staff explain a dish to a guest with enthusiasm because they’ve become inspired by my cooking. It’s fun to share the story of the food. Seeing smiles is the most rewarding part of the job. 

Beaumont’s is known for modern comfort food. What does that mean to you as a chef? I think there’s a stigma attached to the term “comfort food.” As a chef, that’s what I want to eat on my day off. It’s void of pretention, and it satisfies the soul. It has heart and embodies tradition passed on through generations. It’s up to the chef to pass along that tradition with respect while incorporating modern techniques that create something new, but familiar, for our guests. Take our Maui Wowie Burger, for example. We smoke pork belly for four hours, infuse an olive oil with lemongrass to make aioli, and grill pineapple with brown sugar and tamari to make a relish. We grind a special blend of short rib and beef chuck in-house for the patty, too. All of this for one burger. It’s about respect, and you can taste it in the first bite.

Is the Maui Wowie Burger your favorite dish on the menu? It’s definitely legit. It’s an amazing combination of sweet and salty flavors and crunchy and smooth textures. You can experience them all in one bite. But there’s also the Pork Chop with Hatch Chile Polenta. And the Korean Barbecue Salmon is a Beaumont’s classic. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried them all.

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Maui Wowie Burger
Maui Wowie Burger

Do you have any culinary tips to share with our readers? Stop cooking at home and support your local restaurants. We need you now more than ever. Many of the great places that you love are hanging on by a thread.

What do you look forward to achieving at Beaumont’s? Beaumont’s has such a strong following here in San Diego, especially La Jolla. I feel great responsibility to continue the path that has been paved before me by honoring the past and keeping it interesting for our most loyal customers. Our BBQ Pop-Up has been such a huge success. Eventually, I’d like to start a chef apprenticeship program that would give aspiring college students real-life experience in the restaurant business. This is something that I think most culinary programs are missing and it’s baffling as to why. Being able to coach the next generation is my supreme goal.