Chef Jason Franey is no stranger to fine dining. His resume includes stints as sous chef at Daniel Humm’s Campton Place in San Francisco and Eleven Madison Park in New York, and later, working as the chef of Seatle’s Canlis, which earned him a James Beard Foundation nomination for “Best Chef: Northwest.”
Earlier this year, Franey traded Washington for the California coast—and fine dining for a slightly less buttoned-up approach— to serve as the executive chef at Restaurant 1833, a rustic and utterly romantic spot located in on of Monterey’s historic buildings. In the 50s and 60s the building was home to Gallatin Restaurant, a prestigious destination featuring a star-studded guest list with everyone from Harry Truman to Frank Sinatra.
The current decor and menu pay respect to Gallatin with an abundant with drapes and candles and decadent Whole Beast menu for parties of six or more that includes a whole suckling pig, whole roasted king salmon or wood fired baby goat. Items from this menu must be ordered a week in advance. Items from the regular menu include dishes, such as the “Buffalo Style” sweetbreads, Guajillo chili-crusted baby back pork ribs and a burger with fermented cucumbers and Vermont sharp whit cheddar.
We caught up with Franey to discuss the menu, life in Monterey and trending ingredients.
What are your favorite things to do around Monterey?
Most of my time is spent at the restaurant but I love to get out and check out some of the local spots in town for lengua tacos or head down to Pacific Grove with friends.
What inspired your menu at Restaurant 1833?
I’ve done fine dining my whole life so I wanted to create an experience that was more approachable with some simple and delicious food. It’s all about layering flavors. I like to keep things casual without dumbing down our standards.
How does the setting and geography of the area influence your mood and inspiration?
California offers some insane produce and the growing season is also much longer so we have more to choose from all year. Being so close to the coast gives us some of the most pristine seafood and it’s literally at my door when I need it.
Is there such a thing as ‘trendy’ ingredients in your opinion? And how do you personally work with them?
Ramps are pretty trendy right now and they’re just delicious. I’ve been using them for a long time. They have a very short window in spring so I bulk up on them and preserve them for the year. They are one of my favorite ingredients.
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