When it comes to fine dining in Santa Monica, Rustic Canyon is consistently at the top of eater’s lists thanks to Executive Chef, Jeremy Fox. With a Michelin star and acclaim from his time as Executive Chef at Ubuntu in Napa, Jeremy brings his simplicity and love of farm-to-table cooking to this delicious neighborhood restaurant. Here, Fox talks to us about his cooking style, the vision behind Rustic Canyon, and its ever-evolving menu.
Jeremy Fox recalls his love of food from an early stage - he would add his own toppings onto frozen pizzas, and peruse the grocery store, picking things off of the shelf that he thought would be “fun to cook.” Next came culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, and then a job cooking at Mumbo Jumbo in Atlanta. After being bit by the “Cali bug,” Fox moved to San Fran in 2001 and worked for David Kinch at Manresa in Los Gatos, before taking the position as Executive Head Chef at Ubuntu. It was here where his interest in vegetables peaked, as he finely finessed dishes of in-season fruits and vegetables, and reimagined vegetarian cuisine by utilizing produce grown on-site in the restaurant’s biodynamic garden.
After deciding to leave Ubuntu, Fox decamped to Los Angeles where he kept in contact with Josh Loeb, co-owner of Rustic Canyon alongside his wife, Zoe Nathan. “I met Josh and Zoe a couple of years before we started working together through a mutual acquaintance, and I thought they were cool, down-to-earth people,” Fox recalls. “I would always reach out and tell them how great the salad at Milo and Olive [one of Rustic Canyon’s sister restaurants] was.” After learning about an opening at Rustic Canyon, Fox took over the kitchen in 2013. On taking the position, Fox says it was the “integrity and earnestness of who they are, and what Rustic Canyon was, that was very attractive. It felt like the right place to be.”
Since starting at Rustic Canyon, Fox has created a timeless menu that’s ever-evolving. Think innovative vegetable preparations, like the critically-acclaimed beets & berries, along with meat, chicken, and fish sourced from local purveyors and carefully prepared with seasonality, sustainability, and simplicity in mind. Over the years, the entire restaurant staff has worked to refine the menu and create a clear and common goal of what they want Rustic Canyon to be: A neighborhood restaurant that relies on the Santa Monica Farmers Market for inspiration.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re treating the product with utmost care and intention, and making the best food and delivering the best service that we can,” says Fox of Rustic Canyon’s simple approach. “The food isn’t hyper creative. It’s just good food.”
This simple approach to food is also reflected in Fox’s home cooking, with his favorite ingredients to work with being both uncomplicated and accessible - beets, rosemary, garlic, and lemon. His favorite home cooked meal? A classic dish of steak and potatoes.
As for the hyper seasonal menu at Rustic Canyon, which Fox describes as “eclectic” and “farm-to-table,” there are some dishes that have protected status. “The pozole verde and the lavender almonds are the only things that are off-limits. They are untouchable.”
Taste these two veteran dishes, and explore other seasonal favorites created by Chef Jeremy Fox, when you tap into Rustic Canyon on Uber Eats.