Working in a kitchen is deeply engrained in Chef Jason Vincent, who started cooking at age 15 at a pizza restaurant in Cleveland, OH.
Jason studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and then moved to San Sebastian, Spain, where he cooked at Michelin three-starred Arzak. This formative experience taught him the importance of proper technique and how to transform ordinary ingredients into an extraordinary dish.
After moving back to the States, Jason honed his skills at a number of notable restaurants around the country, including James Beard Award winners Fore Street in Portland, ME, and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans.
In 2005, Jason moved to Chicago to helm the kitchen at Lula Café and eventually went on to help open its sister restaurant, Nightwood, where his uncomplicated yet refined Midwestern menu earned national acclaim. While at Nightwood, Jason received the highest culinary accolades, including Food & Wine “Best New Chef;” COCHON 555’s “King of Pork;” a JBF semifinalist nomination for “Best Chef: Great Lakes;” and Michelin Guide’s “Bib Gourmand” award.
In 2014, after 25 years working in restaurants, Jason very thoughtfully and deliberately decided to take a break from the industry to begin planning a place of his own. During his hiatus, he spent precious time with his young family and traveled for inspiration and a fresh perspective. Giant is the result of this “pause,” a representation of Jason as a chef, a father, a husband and a friend. His concept for Giant is simple—a special little neighborhood spot with great service and honest, unpretentious and delicious food.
Since Giant opened in July 2016, its Midwestern menu and exemplary service have been praised both locally and nationally, including earning the coveted #6 spot on Bon Appetit magazine’s “Best New Restaurants” list and Food & Wine’s “Great Restaurants to Work For” list. In this next chapter, Jason is focused on making a positive impact in the hospitality industry. He is regularly advocating for fair working conditions and openly discusses the importance of focusing on mental health. His dedication to the industry, especially his commitment to providing health insurance, has been praised widely.
This summer, Jason and the Giant team will open their next venture, Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar, in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Jason lives in Logan Square with his wife and two daughters.