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Midwestern Migration

Three Chicago-based chefs are staking claims in the San Diego dining scene


The Finest Diner: Jason McLeod
McLeod quietly slipped into a position at La Valencia hotel in La Jolla earlier this summer, after abruptly leaving the esteemed RIA in Chicago, where he earned two Michelin stars. He’s spent time professionally here in the past, opening The Grand Del Mar in 2007, and we’re hoping he’s here to stay this time around. Under new ownership since last year, we here the Pinklady has lots of changes on the way.  


The Rising Star: Jared Van Camp
Van Camp’s worked with the likes of Paul Kahan at Blackbird and Rick Tramonto at Tru in Chicago before opening his own Old Town Social in the city’s north side and then his San Diego outpost Quality Social (downtown in the Gaslamp) in 2009. And if you haven’t tried his everything-made-in-house menu yet, now’s the time. And come thirsty. Van Camp has started tasking his kitchen staff with crafting cocktails. Who better than the cooks to understand complex flavor profiles and perfect pairings? We smell a trend. 


The Expansion Artist: Scott Harris
In addition to opening and running 22 locations of his successful Italian gastropub Mia Francesca across the country (including two locations planned for San Diego this summer in Little Italy and Del Mar Heights), Harris is also a partner in The Purple Pig, one of the windy city’s hottest new restaurants, according to Chicago Magazine’s annual readers’ poll.

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