As a Sonoma County native, Chef Forest is well-versed in the unique diversity of Sonoma County's agriculture and wine regions. He spent much of his childhood living and working on his family's sustainable farm in Cazadero, where he was introduced at an early age to the concept of farm to table. This began a lifelong passion for culinary exploration and artistry. Having worked in restaurant kitchens since he was 15, Chef Forest went on to complete the Culinary Arts program at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Since then, he has worked in acclaimed restaurants across the country, most recently at Chalkboard in Healdsburg, California. Additionally, he has experience at the Timber Cove Resort and the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens in Sonoma County and at Cooks & Soldiers and Miller Union in Atlanta, Georgia. He also spent two years as a private chef in Hollywood, California. Throughout his career, Chef Forest has earned a reputation for creating elegant dishes that are equally delicious and beautifully unpretentious.
"I've learned something at every step, and I've incorporated my life's experience to develop my own style," says Chef Forest. "I'm combining my influences - Basque, Southern and the freshness and quality of ingredients of wine country cuisine. There's a way to craft really elevated dishes while still making it approachable and unpretentious."
Under the leadership of J's executive Chef Aaron Meneghelli, Chef Forest is focused on creating the spectacular five-course tasting menus for The Bubble Room and artisan cheese pairing plates at the Legacy Lounge, working in collaboration with Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock to ensure each nuance is highlighted to maximize the guest experience. "Chef Aaron and I are excited to push the limits of food and wine pairing and see what's really possible."