Why We Love Jason Neroni
Jason's style is one of harnessed unpredictability. He’s a cowboy, a force of nature, a brilliant artist who can deftly translate the precision of sous-vide to scratching a record.
“I love the day-to-day challenges of being a chef. There is no such thing as minutiae. Everything changes every day.”
“I’ve been cooking 24 years now, so Rose is a culmination of what I’ve done (so far) in my career. And I like painting a very big picture!”
How would you describe your cooking style?
I guess abstract, but approachable. I’m definitely a modernist when it comes to matters of technique. I brine everything—fish, chicken, vegetables, etc. But I also use a lot of good, old-fashioned cooking techniques as well. I don’t see the more “cutting edge” technique as better, necessarily; rather, they are just another tool in my arsenal.
Why did you decide to settle in Venice?
I grew up in Orange County but I loved coming up to Venice in my teens because it just seemed more “real” to me. Now, you have Google and Snapchat here. It’s an influence of constantly evolving change. It just feels like the right “palette” for me.
How has the culinary scene in LA evolved?
Los Angeles has been very lucky to have a lot of great chefs gravitate here. We have the ability to access ingredients and produce year round, and have the ability to do it on smaller budgets. A lot of young chefs now have the opportunity to express themselves.
You used to own a Vietnamese restaurant in Portland. How did you approach opening Saucebox?
I grew up in Garden Grove/Westminster, California, which has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, and I was inundated with those flavors—a lot of my friends’ moms cooked such amazing food. The menu at Saucebox in Portland was my cooking style, but incorporating those foods I had while growing up, as well as Korean, Indonesian, Cambodian, Japanese, and South Asian flavors. I wasn’t looking for the food to be authentic and I didn’t want our patrons to expect that; it’s just my take on great local food—with a couple twists.
What’s the biggest difference cooking in Europe, New York and California?
It’s all about the kitchen environment. European chefs begin apprenticing at the age of 10 or 12. In Europe, being a chef is a lifestyle and you cook your entire life. Here in the States, it’s more about cooking for a job. When I returned from Europe, I approached the management of my kitchen a whole different way—now, my kitchen is filled with longtime chefs and staff. It’s a huge difference.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
I love movies, specifically sci-fi. If I wasn’t a chef I could definitely see myself doing something in movies, something in Hollywood.
Explore Upcoming Trips with our Tastemakers
Switzerland with Elias Cairo
A seven-day journey through Switzerland with charcuterie expert Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions. Marvel at the raw majesty of the Swiss Alps. Explore medieval castles and quiet mountain inns. Drink little-known Swiss wines rarely available the world over and celebrate the ancient art of salumeri with one of the world’s true experts.
Mexico City with Patrick Ryan
Aztec pyramids loom below you, hovering in a hot-air balloon in the skies outside the Western Hemisphere's biggest city. With chef Patrick, a lively guy who stresses community and fun, we go ringside at a wrestling match, boat down ancient canals, meet graffiti artists and dine on Patrick's feast in our penthouse suite in hip Condesa. Get ready for fun!
Rep. of Georgia with Bonnie & Israel Morales
Seven days in the Caucasus Mountains with culinary pioneers of foods of the former Soviet Union. We'll learn to make khinkhali (dumplings), stomp grapes as part of some of the world's oldest wine traditions, hike to mountain-top churches, and master the Georgian art of toasting.