Everything at John D is made from scratch, right down to the mayonnaise. "If I have four hours of prep time I’m not going to spend it opening cans," Chef states. He wanted to construct a menu that speaks to Ferndale but is "just forward enough" - there is no molecular gastronomy here, no fumes or hydrogen. Chef describes it as being "a year or two into the future, not 20," bringing a little L.A. flare to Ferndale but in a non-pretentious, home-cooked way.
When owner Eddie Farah went looking for a new head chef among the industry’s movers and shakers, he found exactly the passion and innovation he was seeking in Scott Breazeale. His zeal for experimenting with new techniques and finding new ways to reinvent classic dishes makes Chef Scott perfectly suited for the hip vibe and diverse palate that defines Ferndale. The menu he has created since arriving at John D reflects not only his extensive training and experience, but his understanding of how to draw upon different cultures and traditions while putting his own stamp of creativity on each dish.
According to Chef Scott, “The menu will change seasonally, which is good, because I’m passionate about trying new things. I’m constantly learning and finding new inspiration in different flavor profiles, which is why I’m at the bookstore a couple of times a week studying recipes, I enjoy thinking of ways to re-create them and make them my own. I like keeping up with food trends that are going on in other cool cities too, for instance recently I’ve been checking out what’s going on Montreal, and this fall’s menu will have a bit of a French appeal. I also love to sit down with my chef buddies over some bourbon to chat about our ideas, we really spur each other on to be more creative, and we can also reel each other back in if we’re getting too far out there,” he laughs. He encourages at-home cooks to do the same, saying, “My advice is to not be afraid to try something new. You never know, it could end up being your family specialty!”
Being raised on Sunday dinners at his grandparent’s home made him appreciate the fact that food can bring together friends and family to sit down with each other and talk about their lives and things that are important to them as they share a wonderful meal. His family still enjoys Sunday family dinners to this day, and he likes the fact that being a chef means he is helping to foster that connection in the lives of his guests at John D.
When asked what his favorite thing about cooking is, he says, “I love the instant gratification of it, I love being able to give people pleasure through cooking - seeing their reaction and knowing they’re enjoying it. You really can change someone’s day for the better with a plate of food. And the intimate setting of John D allows me to give a lot of personal attention to the dishes, making absolutely everything from scratch and spending time plating it really well. That’s good for the guest because they get something that’s been prepared for them with passion and with love and great care, and it’s also good for me, because it has to do with my integrity as a chef.”
The next time you come in, take a minute to say hello to Chef Scott and chat with him about what’s on the menu, his enthusiasm is absolutely contagious. He loves to talk about his creations and what inspired them, and you’ll see that he wears his passion for creative, quality food on his sleeve - well, actually it’s a tattoo of a fork, knife and spoon on his wrist – but you get the idea.
Eddie's whole family is a family of restaurateurs (his father owns Alia's Restaurant & Catering, his brother owns Apolonia Natural Dressings, and his cousins own Anita's Kitchen just on the other side of Woodward from John D), but when Eddie decided to open John D, he wanted to do something a little different. "I come from a restaurant family so the next logical step was to own my own restaurant," he explains. "I didn't want to do what my family has always done, the Lebanese. I wanted more of a loungey kind of place."
“I love Ferndale because the people are laid back and they really know their food over here,” Farah said. “I’ve been hanging out in the city since 2001 and I just love it. When the building became available, it just felt like home. I feel so comfortable here.”
There have been a lot of new restaurants that have opened in Ferndale recently and several more to come. But Eddie isn't worried. He has found that the community spirit of Ferndale trumps all aspects of competition, and the businesses all work together towards a common goal. "We’re all going to bring different people into the city," he says. "We all want people to come into the city."
Eddie will also stay true to what made Club Bart, for all it's shabby chic-ness, such a popular place to begin with: a wide variety of high-caliber live entertainment. "I plan on everything from jazz to blues to rock to crooners to dancers," he says. "I'm not going to label the entertainment because I want to be able to bring everything." The mentality at John D, much like the rest of Ferndale (and maybe that's why it all works so well) is "Come one, come all, and come as you are."