Jonah Johnson is the chef at GOAL, a “sports cafe” by the Beverly Center that likes to cover its french fries in fresh herbs and make everything on the menu from scratch. He is a published songwriter and personal chef to celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, whom he kept happy on the “Great Gatsby” set, supermodel Gisele Bunchen and Tobey Maguire.
Johnson didn't go the traditional culinary route and has had no formal training. Instead, his father taught him how to cook at the age of 10. At GOAL, Johnson's first restaurant, he does his take on bar food classics with a $5 burger or pirate sauce wings and a few surprises thrown in, such as the ceviche or “The End Zone”, a Caribbean-marinated chicken breast with salsa and coconut basmati rice.
Latest ingredient obsession?
Pimento (allspice) I've been into trying to recreate a damned good jerk marinade that taste like the ones I've always had while in Jamaica.... I think I've finally got it.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again - and what do you order?
Star BBQ for Korean BBQ. I was a Koreatown resident for over a decade and not only is Korean my favorite food, but I wake up craving Korean BBQ and kimchi for breakfast and I usually indulge.
The last cookbook you read - and what inspired you to pick it up?
"Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health." I'm all about the meat, but I had a client who needed to cut weight in a healthy way.
What's your favorite breakfast?
Multi-grain banana, almond and mixed berry pancakes made from scratch with almond milk, fresh maple syrup and a big fat slab of butter and bacon on top.
What chef has most influenced you?
Tony Bourdain because he has introduced me to different food cultures, which I appreciate more than any particular skill set of any one individual.
GOAL Sports Cafe, 8334 W 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 655-5955, goalsportscafe.com.