Jeremy Fox’s New American at Birdie G’sMay 24, 2019
This essay was first published in the Life & Thyme.
Editor’s Note: When developing this story, Chef Jeremy Fox was about to embark on a holiday trip to Ohio, where he grew up. Instead of dispatching a photographer of our own, we armed Fox with a Leica CL camera (courtesy of Leica San Francisco/Camera West) so we could see Ohio through his own eyes.
Imagine a restaurant where matzo ball soup coexists with rumaki (a Polynesian-style appetizer popular in post-war America), and Mongolian tri-tip. Legendary California chef Jeremy Fox will soon reveal what these seemingly unrelated dishes have in common on the tables of his upcoming dream restaurant Birdie G’s, which is set to open this summer in Santa Monica’s historic Bergamot Station.
Fox—the executive chef of Rustic Canyon in Los Angeles, and formerly of Manresa in Los Gatos and Ubuntu in Napa Valley—sat with me at Rustic Canyon to talk about the inspiration behind his multi-ethnic, yet wholly Americana menu. Birdie G’s will honor and celebrate food memories, past and present.
Raised on fast food and TV dinners, Fox never learned the basics of home cooking. Nonetheless, he enrolled in culinary school at age twenty and started working in fine dining restaurants. “I learned how to make fancy things, but I never learned how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, I never learned how to make macaroni and cheese or scalloped potatoes. I didn’t learn how to make stuffing until a couple of years ago,” he tells me. “I wanted to go back and be able to cook those things. I wanted to be able to cook real food.”
Birdie G’s will be all about real foods in every sense of the term. In it, Fox will redefine himself by looking to his past. Born in the Cleveland suburbs, Fox moved to Atlanta at age twelve and spent childhood summers with his beloved grandparents outside of Philadelphia. All of these places, in one form or another, have shaped the menu at Birdie G’s. Fox was quick to share food stories through pictures he took in his wife’s native Ohio. He was there for the Christmas holidays with his wife, Rachael Sheridan, and their three-year-old daughter Birdie, the restaurant’s namesake.