chef russell jones
Chef Russell Jones, a Columbia, SC native, developed his interest in the culinary world during his years as a student at the University of South Carolina. He worked at Rosewood Market under Chef Benoit St Jacques and quickly realized that he had a passion for cooking. It was this realization that led him to abandon his then-dream of being the frontman of a rock band and pursue a different direction by enrolling in culinary school in Washington, D.C. Jones studied at L’academie de Cuisine which he credits for much of his interest and expertise in French cuisine. After culinary school, Jones was placed in the kitchen at Le Paradou, a prestigious and high-end fine dining restaurant in the heart of D.C. Jones was the only member of the kitchen team who did not speak French but he used this to his advantage by closely observing how every dish was prepared as he worked under acclaimed chef Yannick Cam.
With this experience under his belt, Jones helped open Vinoteca in the U Street Corridor of D.C., a small wine bar and bistro, and created the menu as the executive chef. He then moved to award-winning Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria where he eventually worked his way up to sous chef over his four year tenure. Staying within the Restaurant Eve family, Jones wanted to try his hand in the front-of-house and moved to sister cocktail bar, Bar PX, where he ran the bar program. Jones learned the value of a strong cocktail program and gained insight into the front-of-house by working directly with owner, mixologist and sommelier Todd Thrasher.
In 2014, eager to get back in the kitchen, Jones accepted a position at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, another D.C. institution that was known for its exceptional bar and whisky collection, but not for its food. Jones set out to overhaul the existing menu and eventually elevated the restaurant’s food concept into an award-winning, Michelin guide mentioned collection of carefully curated American dishes.
Now, after more than a decade away, Jones has returned to South Carolina to introduce a new level of restaurant to Columbia. Tallulah opened in January 2017 and highlights Jones’ mix of classic French background and dedication to local, Southern fare and ingredients.