Todd Jacobs, chef-owner of Fresh, credits his love of food to his grandmothers and his love of cooking to a close friend, Alex Lee, while his passion for local ingredients and sustainability grew organically. He has been a central part of the regional culinary scene for many years.
Jacobs’ culinary career began at the French Culinary Institute where he graduated 19TK. He went on to work at well-respected New York City French restaurants at Maurice Restaurant as chef poissonier and with Daniel Boulud as garde manager at Le Regence. After gaining knowledge and skill, he relocated to the Hamptons in the early 1990s first earning praise as executive chef at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor. During his tenure there, Jacobs was honored as one of the most outstanding chefs in the country when he received Distinguished Restaurants of North America’s “DiRoNA Award” that honors the best restaurants in North America.
In 1994, Jacobs moved on and opened his own restaurant, Tierra Mar in Westhampton. Here, WCBS Radio’s Anthony Dias Blue said, “Chef Todd Jacobs is a talented and dedicated cook,” and SmartMoney named Jacobs the “Best Chef in the Hamptons.” In 2000, the restaurant moved to Westhampton Bath & Tennis Hotel with an added catering division, Atlantica. His cultivated wine list at Tierra Mar showcased the largest selection of Long Island wines in the world and was honored with Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” for its well-chosen selection of quality producers displaying vintage depth. In September 2009, Jacobs opened Atlantica at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach, where he oversaw the full spectrum of hotel food and beverage operations. Jacobs continued to adhere to a bold and unwavering farm-to-table philosophy, crafting eclectic yet sophisticated menus that consisted of seasonal, local and organic ingredients.
This concept continues with Fresh, which opened in May 2013. The menu at Fresh is abundant with organic, raw, gluten-free and vegetarian options. “My menus are always driven by what’s local,” he said. “I highlight my menu on what’s coming in the back door fresh.” Jacobs believes in using organic and local products that are in season whenever possible. From fish locally caught in the wild using sustainable practices to antibiotic and growth hormone-free meats from small farms, all ingredients embody Jacobs’ belief in organic and local food. The menu – packed with flavor and energy – is subject to additions and changes based on market availability, keeping ingredients and menu items consistent with the name of the restaurant: Fresh.
His relationship with the organic farmers on the East End is longstanding and he’s been a supporter of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) since the inception of the Long Island chapter in 1990. As an active member, Jacobs volunteers his time to their fundraisers and was presented with the first ever “Green Skillet Award,” an honor given for outstanding support and belief in promoting the use of locally grown organic produce. He is also a member of the Long Island Food Experience, a group that promotes the use of Long Island ingredients and the East End convivium of Slow Food International. Jacobs is a huge supporter of Long Island Organic Co-Op (LIOCO), a network of East End farms who deliver their organic produce to local restaurants as well. He was awarded two awards at the inaugural East End Food and Wine Awards – one for dedication and service and another, the “Humanitarian Award,” for all his charity work.
A seasoned chef in the kitchen and on-air, Jacobs’s television and radio experience includes Sirius Radio’s Martha Stewart Living and WE TV’s Taste This as well as News 12 Long Island, PBS Channel 21 and Plum TV.
Search no further for a savory “locavore” dining experience in Suffolk County. Watch Todd Jacobs’ demonstration video above and don’t miss a chance to eat at one of his restaurants!