Working at Joseph Decuis, he has learned the importance of working with fresh local foods. At their farm, they raise Wagyu cattle, chickens, herbs, and vegetables. In addition, they supplement with produce, meats, and dairy items from other local and similarly minded farms. These other farms tend to be small farms, many of whom are producing heritage breeds. Working with these local farms, they serve items only when they’re in season locally. As Chef Aaron stated, “Indiana tomatoes are amazing, but when they’re gone, we don’t have them any more. We don’t buy them from California or Mexico to keep them on the menu.”
Located in Indiana and having standards such as that, it may seem difficult to provide produce to their diners in the winter. Chef Aaron did note, “We do have to source, some things can’t be grown locally. Our citrus comes from Florida. Arugula salad is grown north of Indianapolis, hydroponically, which keeps us in greens year round.” In addition, this restaurant has formed a relationship with a local Amish family that should help solve the problem. The family has built a greenhouse and will be growing items, such as collard greens and kale, for the restaurant’s use.
Discussing what he likes best on the menu, Chef Aaron indicated that the Wagyu beef was a favorite ingredient for cooking. The farm has been raising these cattle for seven years, and within that time it’s changed what the chefs can do with the beef. Instead of working with only the “good cuts”, such as filet, the chefs use all parts of the cow. As he explained, “We can elevate mundane cuts. When we are left with rounds, rump roasts, flank steak, and a ton of other cuts, we use cuts like that in a way that is up to our standard, which is always fun.” In fact, next year they may try to butcher their own cattle to maximize the amount of cuts that they get.
Moving from food to customers, we discussed why Joseph Decuis has so many loyal patrons. Chef Aaron attributed it to two factors, “The quality of food and quality of service. It is leaps and bounds above local restaurants.” He continued, “People come to us for the honesty of our food. Some people view it as a trend, but it is something we live by. It is not trendy. They know the eggs in the pasta are from 6 miles up the road. The chicken is fresh, never frozen. They know where the food is coming from.”
Working at Joseph Decuis with truly farm fresh ingredients and dedicated staff, Chef Aaron may be another one of the reasons why their patrons are so loyal.
Early on, Newman had a passion for cooking, and learned to make breakfast for himself at a young age. He remembers his first ‘creation’ from his own imagination, Spaghetti with Crab, and remembers fondly the impact that simple recipe had on his future. Since age 13, Chef Jeff has never worked outside of the food and beverage industry, including early jobs at quick service restaurants to four and five star establishments. His formal education came from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. There, he graduated with honors and credits that period of his life as the time he decided to get very serious. Years later, he can be found mentoring young cooks and leading a kitchen that is known for great regional cuisine.
In his off time, Jeff likes to spend time with his wife, Andrea, and his family whom also live in Lexington. He enjoys watching his nephew play baseball and loves University of Kentucky sports, especially basketball and football. You may find him playing disc golf, digging in the garden, or fishing and camping with family and friends, always accompanied by good food and good times.
Guillas, no stranger to classic tradition, insists, “a good cook is a sorcerer who dispenses happiness on a plate.” For this chef, it is the magic of adding unusual seasonings to titillate the palate. He learned his alchemy early. Born into a family of butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs, Guillas’ Britannic upbringing was influenced by his daily exposure to fine cuisine. He began his formal training in 1978, at Le Bretagne Restaurant in Questembert, France, where he apprenticed with the legendary Georges Paineau. Over the next six years he expanded his culinary knowledge with several Maitres Cuisinier de France fine dining restaurants. Jumping continents, Guillas moved on to become chef de cuisine at Le Dolmen in French Guyana. Richly diverse South American flavors still influence his food today.
In 1984, Guillas moved to Washington DC as chef tournant, chef saucier, and sous chef under Pierre Chambrin, former White House executive chef, at Maison Blanche. In 1989, he relocated to San Diego and spent five years as chef de cuisine at the Grant Grill, located in the US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego’s historic district. In 2001 Guillas was inducted into the International Restaurant & Hospitality Rating Bureau’s American Chefs’ Hall of Fame. Guillas is one of only fourteen chefs to receive this honor.
Recently, Guillas has added and self published his first cookbook, Flying Panswith co-author and chef de cuisine of the Marine Room, Ron Oliver. Guillas’ multiple television appearances added to his roster of impressive credits in addition to being selected as one of fifteen “Rising Star Chefs” (1996), he has appeared in Food Arts Magazine, the “Rising Star Chef” cookbook and PBS’ “Rising Chef” television series and has been a guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio show and KPBS.
Guillas has been invited as guest chef to the prestigious James Beard House in New York on many occasions. Selected as San Diego’s “Best Chef” numerous times, including the Gold Medallion Awards (California Restaurant Association, San Diego Chapter), Chef Magazine, San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine Readers Poll and San Diego Magazine People’s and Critic’s Choice. Guillas continues to infuse the local culinary scene with his unique talent and engaging personality.
Chef Guillas promotes sustainability and plays an active role in supporting his local community. He regularly participates in Mama’s Kitchen, Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation fund-raiser for hunger relief, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, annual guest chef for Celebrities Cook for Cancer, a fund-raiser that benefits the University of California San Diego Cancer Center. Guillas is also the chef spokesman for the Macy’s School of Cooking where he shares his passion for the culinary arts. He travels extensively throughout the world promoting his restaurants and the San Diego region.