Orange County-born C.J. Jacobson is the executive chef at Girasol restaurant in Studio City, CA which opened in July 2013. His craft is best described as ‘rustic-refined’ and revolves around a hyper-seasonal, local California ingredients, where foraging plays a main part in the flavor profiles that he creates in his kitchen
Jacobson has always been one for a good competition, even before starring on two seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef, participating in four Celebrity Chef Tours, and most recently, winning Top Chef Duels in 2014, he attended Pepperdine University in Malibu on a volleyball scholarship, made the U.S. National Volleyball Team. His professional volleyball career took him to Belgium, Israel, and the Netherlands, where he discovered food could be exciting and inspiring. Jacobson then returned to LA and did a three-day immersion at Mélisse, the Michelin two-star restaurant in Santa Monica where he ultimately decided restaurants would be his next career path. He enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, graduating in 2004 and his first professional job was cooking at Axe, a highly regarded restaurant with an ingredient-driven California menu. He went on to work throughout California at Campanile under Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton and as a private chef for VIPs such as Arianna Huffington and Guess clothing’s Marciano family.
After his first appearance on Top Chef in 2007, he accepted a position as executive chef at The Yard, a gastropub in Santa Monica, CA. The following year, Jacobson participated in the renowned James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour and in 2012, he staged at the world-renowned Copenhagen restaurant Noma, working closely with acclaimed Chef René Redzepi. It was there he honed his skills and appreciation for every single ingredient—foraging for it, exploring it, researching it.
Jacobson is the first chef in residence at Intro, an innovative new restaurant with an entrepreneurial spirit from famed restaurateur Rich Melman, Founder of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprsies, and Chef/ Partner Matthew Kirkley, who helmed the kitchen at two-Michelin star, L2O. Jacobson will introduce Chicago to his ingredient-driven and California-influenced cuisine in February 2015.