Jason Tuley


About Jason Tuley

Chef Jason Tuley’s childhood in Santa Barbara, Calif. was greatly influenced by his time spent in the kitchen of his grandmother Luella’s restaurant, Mom’s Drive-In. Even though he was very young, he was a staple at the restaurant where he loved learning to make baked goods and southern-inspired comfort food with his grandmother, including fried chicken, pies, cornbread and cobblers. So it should come as no surprise that after attending the culinary program at Cabrllio College in Santa Cruz, he enrolled at the CIA Greystone in 1996 to further his education and take more classes in the culinary arts. After a year, he returned to his roots in Southern California where he began to make his mark at restaurants up and down the coast, including San Ysidro Ranch and Citronelle in Santa Barbara and Sea Cloud in Santa Cruz. In 2005, Tuley opened his first restaurant, Square One, in Santa Barbara. In addition to running the kitchen, he also quickly learned to multi-task and balance the responsibilities that go into owning and running a successful and busy restaurant including all of the financials, ordering and managing staff. He eventually sold the restaurant to his partner in 2010, and changed his focus to opening an Italian-inspired restaurant that would feature on local, seasonal ingredients. Tuley opened Anchor Woodfire Kitchen in 2012, bringing his commitment to locally-sourced rustic Italian cookery to the community in which he grew up, while working alongside his good friend and co-owner Charlie Fredericks. Here he was able to utilize all of his knowledge of Italian butchery and charcuterie, and also perfect his wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas, and rustic sauces, which he grew to love during the many months he spent traveling and working in Italy. Over the years, Tuley made a point to regularly travel to Italy, specifically Tuscany, where he spent many months working alongside various chefs and butchers, learning to make salami, pasta and pizza. He, of course, also did a lot of eating – and gained priceless education in traditional Italian street-food like tripe sandwiches and chicken livers with pancetta. After the tough decision to sell Anchor in 2014, Tuley moved back up to the Bay Area because he wanted to be at the center of California’s culinary scene, and San Francisco is one of the most respected food cities in the country. Over the last two years in the Bay Area, he has enjoyed cooking at TBD in San Francisco and Parlour in Oakland, and most recently, Tuley spent a year at Picco Restaurant and Pizzeria in Larkspur, further perfecting his wood-fired pizzas and pasta-making. At Contrada, Tuley was very excited to focus on his favorite region of Italy, sourcing Bay Area ingredients and crafting a creative menu that features rustic Tuscan sensibilities. Contrada was well received and brandished stellar reviews. Sadly, Contrada closed after two years of business du to liquor license issues. Tuley is currently working on his first cookbook Chef Hunter Forager. It a dream realized for Tuley. His first book is a retrospective of his life hunting, fishing, foraging and most of all cooking in California. Jason’s first book is guaranteed to be a stunner and will be released in 2020.