Chef Jessica Largey was born and raised in the agricultural town of Fillmore, California, located just an hour outside of Los Angeles, and it turns out that growing up in a small town surrounded by orange groves, backyard avocado trees, and little else, was the perfect environment for a young chef to learn how to cook with fresh produce.
It’s not surprising, then, that Jessica will be incorporating Southern California’s abundance of produce into the menu at Simone, her first restaurant as head chef, which opened in Downtown LA’s arts district on September 20.
Prior to Simone, Jessica trained at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, enrolling at just 16 years old, and from there she landed her first internship and eventual post as a line cook at Michael Cimarusti’s celebrated fine dining restaurant Providence, located in Los Angeles.
Her credentials in fine dining quickly added up in the years to come, most notably becoming chef de cuisine at Manresa in Los Gatos, California, under head chef David Kinch. During her time at Manresa, which received its third Michelin Star in 2016, Largey was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2014, and was nominated again the following year, when she won the award.
Jessica departed Manresa soon after, taking some time to reboot and discover her next move as a chef, and eventually landed back in Southern California, where she’s now poised to open Simone.
Chef Jessica Largey’s Shift List:
Shakey Graves - “Dearly Departed”
Neko Case - “People Got a Lotta Nerve”
Ben Sollee - “Mechanical Advantage”
Shania Twain - “Any Man of Mine”
Cher - “Believe”
The Clash - “Straight to Hell (Live)”
SNAP! - “Rhythm Is a Dancer”
David Bowie - “Golden Years”
Nina Simone - “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”
Nina Simone - “Mississippi Goddam (Live)”
Nina Simone - “You’ve Got to Learn”
Gap Band - “Outstanding”
Aerosmith - “Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)”