Visionary Restaurateurs in San Diego
Chef Jason McLeod To Oversee Culinary Programs for Craft & Commerce, UnderBelly, Neighborhood and More
The visionary restaurateurs-come-social engineering duo, Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton proudly announce the recent addition of nationally renowned chef Jason McLeod to their hospitality collective, Consortium Holdings. With over 25 years of culinary experience under his toque, chef McLeod has traveled the world to train with several of the most prestigious chefs in the industry, including Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White. McLeod also spent time in San Diego from 2007 to 2009, serving as executive chef of the Grand Del Mar–but it was in 2011 as the opening executive chef for the Chicago’s Ria at the Elysian Hotel that he led the restaurant from being relatively unknown, to receiving two Michelin stars during its first year of operation.
Shortly after receiving this tremendous accomplishment, McLeod left his position at Ria to return once again to San Diego’s warmer and more temperate climate. It was here that he was connected with Tafazoli and Stanton, who were immediately drawn to his experience in Chicago. “Coming from a market that has drastically evolved within the past several years into a highly progressive, chef-driven dining scene, Jason has been able to witness this immense growth firsthand,” says Tafazoli. “Recognizing Jason’s incredible skill, our hope is that he will continue to stimulate that same cultural innovation that is now happening in San Diego. With a growing pool of extremely talented individuals gathering right here in our own backyard, we think having someone like Jason just puts our city that much closer to receiving the national attention it deserves”.
McLeod is just as excited by the opportunity, noting how “moving back to San Diego was a welcomed opportunity to step into the city’s growing food scene. With San Diego’s unique climate and location, it’s refreshing to be able to utilize the local produce and proteins that aren’t readily accessible in other parts of the country year round.”
As executive chef of Consortium Holdings, McLeod will oversee the award-wining culinary programs at Little Italy’s Craft & Commerce and UnderBelly, East Village’s contemporary urban eatery, Neighborhood, and will continue to grow with the collective as co-owners, Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton move forward in expansion.
About Consortium Holdings: California’s southern-most city, San Diego, has for decades been known as a casual, sleepy coastal getaway with a culinary scene to match—fish tacos and Mexican lager epitomized an attitude not unlike that of an adolescent sibling to that of its mature, celebrity chef-embellished neighbor-to-the-north. Enter Consortium Holdings, the visionary restaurateurs-come-social engineering duo that is pioneering the city’s now burgeoning cultural progression with its five ambitious concepts in as many years. Co-founders Arsalun Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton have cultivated an intrinsic core philosophy—that a space should inspire, its design aesthetic and culinary /cocktail paradigm allowing for the seemingly lost art of conversation to thrive in an environment that fosters charisma, thoughtful dialogue, and the resurgence of real human interaction. In stark contrast to the overwhelming neon lights and volatile drone that emanates from plasma screens-as-art in less calculated restaurant and bar settings, Consortium Holdings’ projects eschew trendy, stagnant décor and menus in favor of an eclectic, contemporary quality borne out of the collaborative efforts of like-minded individuals with a hunger (and thirst) for innovation. Consortium Holdings’ concepts have been recognized for their innovation in publications such as Food & Wine, GQ, The New York Times, Imbibe and more.