Passionate about food, Executive Chef Christian Graves dishes out an inspiring way of eating with his forward approach to cooking. Elevating the San Diego culinary scene with his experience and relaxed sophistication, brought to Jsix, Chef Graves has become a highly followed and highly acclaimed chef.
Before joining Jsix and the San Diego scene Chef Graves nurtured his craft in San Francisco, cooking for some of the city's premier dining spots. At Farallon, he worked under notable chef Mark Franz for five years. As Dinner Chef, he created some of the region's most noteworthy coastal cuisine menus. Prior to that, Chef Graves worked at other top San Francisco restaurants, including Momos, Aqua, Roti and One Market. Chef Graves' undeniable talent offers an unparalleled dining experience.
- Q:Who is your mentor?
- A: Jan Birnbaum from Epic Roast house in SF. He is a chef's chef. Jan is as inspiring in the kitchen as he is in and about life. A true lover of all things beautiful. He has always given me great advice and guided me in the correct direction.
- Q: What do you consider your best culinary creation?
- A: Wow- I don't think anything is "new" So I don't really feel I have created anything. I do think I have learned a lot of fundamentals in cooking and made them relevant to our day and age. We don't eat the same way we did 300 years ago. We do however use thoughts from 300 years ago to cook today. Think about why we preserved or cured item 300 years ago and why we still eat those items today. It's fantastic to think today when we can or jar something that this same product was being done in a similar fashion and being put on a boat to travel the seas! I love that! It's one of the reason I charcuterie so much. It was a way of not burning your resources feeding animals through the winter but still having something to eat at the same time.
- Q: What inspires you?
- A: Everything can be inspiration to me. Maybe a song or walking thru the rows of a farm. Maybe sitting on my surfboard and watching the baitfish swim by me and the salt water on my lips. Even hearing a young cook talk about how good a dish was and remembering what it meant to me the first time I had it. Maybe its sharing something my father shared with me that I now get to share with my 3 boys. Inspiration is all around us at every moment... you just need to be consciously looking for it or open to it!
- Q: What are your favorite classics to cook?
- A:Anything with live fire. Letting beans sit for hours over a live wood fire is the best thing on earth. As we are moving into fall my go to cooking method is to braise from deep leafy greens, to little bone in pieces of lamb, it's got to be slow and low. Escoffier is still the x and y axis for me it always guides me in the right direction.
- Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool?
- A: Beyond a 12 in chef's knife my favorite tool in the kitchen is the micro plane. I use it for everything from lemons to garlic and shallots to truffles. Who would have thought a wood working tool would be so handy in the kitchen!
- Q: Who would you love to have eat at Jsix?
- A: I think it would be funny to have all my chefs from my previous jobs at a table. Then I could show them what they started and how it's going. I have my own style or voice with food but they helped shape it. I think it would be a kick for them to see each of their influences in what I'm doing now.
More from Chef Graves
Radish/Persian cucumber salad
Jsix | 616 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101 | Phone: (619) 531-8744 | www.jsixrestaurant.com