More dashed plans for chef Jeremy Fox, who is canceling his Old Soul dinner series at Square One in the face of a new opportunity, leaving diners with reservations for his January sessions empty-handed. The former Ubuntu chef first came to L.A. from San Francisco in late 2011 to help open Freddy Smalls and advise Paper + Plastick as a consultant. Plans waxed and waned, with Fox throwing out ideas like an Eames House-inspired restaurant and something called Kosher Pig, famously bailing Barnyard in Venice days before it’s planned opening, where he was set to finally make his mark locally before the split with ownership.
Taking the management with him, the team together conceived “This Is Not a Pop-Up” as a culinary incubator, with Old Soul the first project to be unveiled. According to a statement by This Is Not a Pop-Up co-founder Helena Brown, she and partner Helen Springut were “really looking forward to continuing Old Soul with Jeremy, but, as is the nature of this business, a last-minute opportunity came up which he felt the need to pursue.” So close, yet so far.
The departure follows a perceived pattern in Fox’s career since his celebrated years with Ubuntu, singing on to Daniel Patterson’s Plum, which quickly fell through before opening, and a truncated session with Tyler Florence at Napa’s Rotisserie & Wine.
Still, Fox’s latest egress paves the way for this culinary cultivator to move on. Springut tells Grub Street another NorCal refugee, Michael Mina and FIG-vet James Trees, who will step in to conduct the chef-side of This Is Not a Pop-Up, allowing chefs to test out ideas and explore muscles they might not be able to flex under traditional owner-driven restaurants, helping test out their marketability and connection with diners in the process.
“Using this as an incubator, it allows chefs to play with concepts while we handle the marketing, the legal side of things…and see if it works as a business. Chefs, kind of like musicians, don’t always get or want to bother with the business side of the industry, so we’re taking care of that so they can do what they do best, “Springut says.
To that end, This Is Not a Pop-Up has big plans to endow a smattering of chefs with week-long residencies and will continue Thursdays through Sundays at Square One Dining, starting January 17, with the same $50 reservation price in place.
Demonstrating the series’ mission to give chefs a creative outlet and concept incubator with a sense of freedom and play, first to the table will be a four night stint from Trees, who will stay on board to nurture coming concepts like a test of Adam Gertler’s take on deli food, an exploration of Nordic cuisine with California ingredients from C.J. Jacobson, fresh off a stage at NOMA, an all-pasta menu from Churchill chef and Spiaggia vet Bruce Kalman, and experimentation from Tyler Wells of Handsome Coffee.
From there, the chef concept laboratory plans to bring in new chefs, enabling them to connect with a concept and if desired, find permanent situations through owners and moneymen. Founders also envision upcoming collaboration dinners, in addition to the current chef-specific series.
Reservations and full details for the “This Is Not a Pop-Up” dinner series can be found on the concept’s website and through calling 323-451-1767.