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Chef Spotlight: Chef JJ of Cane Rosso

Coming from Dallas, Cane Rosso has been serving up pizza in South Austin for a little over a year. A welcome addition to the neighborhood, Chef JJ crafts unique pizzas and other delicious bites – all combined with a great cocktail, beer, and wine menu. And, of course, dogs are welcome on their lovely patio! Check out some of Chef JJ’s favorite things, including his most memorable meal.

What is your guilty pleasure? There are sooo many...currently Cinnamon Toast Crunch with peanut butter milk.

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tacos...and Pizza because it folds like tacos.

What does your family beg you to make at home? My 11-year-old daughter always wants me to make mac and cheese, and my wife likes me to prepare ceviche, crudo, coctel – anything raw or marinated seafood.

Describe the best meal you've ever had. My birthday meal this year in the Bay of Cadiz at Aponiente. The meal of all local seafood was served inside of a 19th century tide mill. I teared up half way through the meal as I am a Gulf Coast kid and diver and love the sea...we even had a drink served in the dark made with melon and bio-luminescent crustacea that glowed in the dark as you swirled. Best meal of my life. My wife is to blame for that.

What is your favorite local ingredient? This is an unfair question. This is like trying to choose your favorite child. I have no real answer to this. I will go with our Gulf Coast seafood FTW.

If you can make a meal for anyone, who would it be and why? I used to contemplate cooking for Anthony Bourdain or my favorite "Fat Kid" David Chang. Now I just really enjoy cooking for my wife. No judgement, she loves my food and will try anything no matter how esoteric or crazy it may be.

About Chef JJ

Jonathan Jones is the Executive Chef for the South Texas locations of Cane Rosso – overseeing the teams at Cane Rosso Heights and Cane Rosso Montrose locations, as well as the Cane Rosso in Austin.

Originally from La Porte, TX, Jones has called the Houston area home his entire life. As a child, Jones was immediately passionate about food, favoring cooking television shows over sports and learning to shuck an oyster by age 10. Jones grew up visiting his family’s farm outside of Houston where he was able to pick fresh vegetables for Thanksgiving meals. To earn extra money in high school, Jones began working at a fast food pizza restaurant. It was there where he applied to culinary school and went on to graduate with a Degree of Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Houston.

As Executive Chef and Culinary Director, Jones was an essential part of the original Max’s Wine Dive opening, providing input and direction on the menu and atmosphere. Jones went on to become the Executive Chef and Partner of Beaver’s in 2008, where he reinvigorated the menu, relying heavily on his gulf coast upbringing and worked closely with the classic cocktail menu revamp. From there, Jones was the Executive Chef of Hotel Zaza and was most recently the Director of Operations at the celebrated gastro-cantina El Big Bad.

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