CHEF JAYSON HOLZWORTH
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?
Farmhouse Executive Chef at The Ojai Valley Inn
Hospitality is at the center of my approach to cooking. When I am putting a dish together, I try to envision the moment when a group of guests are at a table; half are eating and half are still trying to pass the sides around. That moment is when the experience of community happens. I want the food and service to have a narrative that uplifts, inspires and accentuates community. I want to serve something that was cooked simply and honestly. Being able to have the nicest ingredients from land and sea makes it such a fun and ever evolving journey.
I received my AAS degree from a small culinary school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Chef Frody Volgger hired a kid (me) with zero experience and zero hope to help him with his restaurant. Cooks need a mentor. He was my crazy Austrian version. We specialized in Alpine cuisine with a theory of snout-to-tail butchery and cooking. Very simplistic but learning to cook with purpose was pivotal for me.
My chapter of greatest growth as a cook came when I moved to California. The biggest turning point came when I met Chef Truman Jones in Big Sur, California. I was not only introduced to what food means in the California setting but what the role food is in the whole picture of hospitality. Chef Truman helped me understand the importance of systems. I imagined a true chef a skilled octopus. Each arm methodically and independently completing tasks.
My current chapter as a cook is very fun. I find myself now curating really nice food. I’m really proud of my connection to my craft. Living and working in Ventura County comes with a myriad of possible culinary adventures. I am thankful to know a lot of really passionate and talented people.
I am so thankful for mentors. They are the keepers of culture and they inspire. But hero’s can’t just live on our walls and on our screens. We need them next to us with their sleeves rolled up, driving and nourishing. We as leaders need to come together and begin creating a culture that instills true professionalism in our kitchens and truly caring for our teams. Let’s create the tide that actually lifts all boats.