Top Chef Alumni Newsletter

Jamie Lauren Won’t Miss Much About S.F., Will Miss Goood Frikin’ Chicken

Jamie at SF Chefs last year.
Jamie at SF Chefs last year. Photo: davitydave/Flickr

News came via Grub Street L.A. yesterday that Jamie Lauren, who’s been helming Absinthe during her post-Top Chef years, just landed a gig at Beechwood in Venice starting in October. Grub Street got Jamie on the horn to talk about the news, and we asked her what she’ll miss most about San Francisco. “The fog — I’m kidding,” she said.

But really.
Jamie: Not much, really. Is that bad? I mean, I’ll miss my friends. That’s a given. I’m just not the kind of person who misses things. I grew up in New York, I don’t know. I get what I can out of a place and then I move on. I was getting a little bored in S.F. to tell you the truth. A little too comfortable. I needed to take a risk, energize myself somehow. Everybody’s sort of doing the same thing, food-wise, up there and I’m really excited about the diversity and newness down in L.A.

Oh, I’ll miss Zeitgeist. And you know what else? Goood Frikin’ Chicken. Have you ever eaten there? It’s, like, amazing chicken. I will seriously miss that place.

Tell us about Beechwood. Do you know yet what you’ll be doing food-wise?
It’s a really cool space, been open about six years, sort of lounge-y. Dave Reiss owns a couple of bars in town, The Alibi Room and The Brig in Venice. He’s basically saying I can do whatever I want which is kind of cool. Beechwood is also kind of like the perfect size, 60 seats. I’m planning to sort of synthesize everything I’ve done over the past ten years, mixing up some of what I was doing at Absinthe [modern, California-French with some classic preparations] with some of the small plates and stuff I used to do at Levende.

What are you up to right now?

I’m traveling for a while now. I don’t start at Beechwood until October, so… I’m in Texas right now. Glamorous, right?

Earlier: Top Chef’s Jamie Lauren Named Beechwood’s New Exec Chef [Grub Street LA]

Jamie Lauren Won’t Miss Much About S.F., Will Miss Goood Frikin’