Chef’s Roll has been working with True Aussie Beef & Lamb since 2015 – and we have seen and tasted, firsthand, the incredible product Australia produces — from grassfed beef to pasture-raised lamb. We’ve worked with hundreds of chefs who have also praised the product and added it to their menus. Today we’re featuring one of those chefs.
Jason Fullilove is executive chef at Barbara Jean LA, a restaurant concept that strives to celebrate and elevate American soul food. He’s also been an ambassador Australian lamb and beef since 2016. We asked Jason about his approach to soul food, how to make it in LA’s food industry, and why he loves Australian lamb and beef.
What is your background in the food and beverage industry?
I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. I started out as a prep-cook/ dishwasher in Massachusetts and went on to take continuing education at the CIA in New York. My first executive chef job was at a boutique hotel in downtown Cleveland. After relocating to NYC, I ran several high-volume fine dining restaurants before the Ritz Carlton recruited me as the CD at the Ritz Carlton USVI.
I finally made it to California in 2009. Since then, I’ve been an executive chef for Patina Restaurant Group and have served as an executive chef for the James Beard award-winning Chef Mark Peel. After opening 7 restaurants in LA for other people, I made the decision to develop my own restaurant concept and in 2015, I opened the doors to Barbara Jean LA.
Your food is described as “Elevated American Soul Food” – can you talk about how you approach the “elevated” part of that?
I’ve been trained in various types of international cooking techniques and styles. So what we try to do at Barbara Jean is cook American soul food with a fine dining mentality. We use seasonal organic products, cook everything from scratch, and use spices and techniques from around the world.
You’re telling me! I’ve been doing this with zero financial backing – No investors. The fact that I’ve been able to survive in this market is purely based on hard work and strength of product. I think I was able to tap into something real that people wanted to eat. I have a great staff; most of them have been with me for over 5 years. We cook delicious food and people know it. Yes, it would have been easier to start this process with a bunch of money in the bank, but that wasn’t my path. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people and strength of product are the most important things in this business.
You mention strength of product, does that mean working with brands such as True Aussie beef and lamb?
Yes, I’ve been working with Aussie lamb and beef for over 2 years now. I was invited to one of their conferences and we’ve been working together ever since.
Have you recommended Aussie lamb and beef to other chefs?
Yes, I do! All the time. The quality and taste are impeccable.
You’ve shared one of your favorite recipes with us here, Diced Grass-Fed Aussie Beef Tartar. What do you love about this recipe?
With a tartar, you really get to enjoy the pure taste of the product.
True Aussie Featured Recipe:
DICED GRASS-FED AUSSIE BEEF TARTAR
Tartar dressing | Toasted sesame baguette | Greek yogurt
- 5lbs. Diced grass-fed Aussie beef
- 1ea. Lemon (zested and juiced)
- 1ea. Orange (zested and juiced)
- 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1tsp. Shallot, minced
- 1tsp. Fresno chili, chopped
- 1tbsp. Honey
- 1/2 cup Olive oil
- 2tbsp. Yellow mustard seeds
- 4tbsp. Grain mustard
- 4tbsp. Capers, chopped
- 1tbsp. Sriracha
- To taste Salt and pepper
- Set aside beef. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to create dressing.
- Toss freshly diced grass-fed Aussie beef in dressing.
- Serve on a toasted sesame baguette and garnish with Greek yogurt. Makes 20 servings.