By Kristin Lee Jensen
Anaheim Ducks fans might be familiar with the Honda Center’s concessions stands, but there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the arena’s restaurants. At the helm is Executive Chef Jo-Jo Doyle, boasting more than 15 years of culinary experience and bringing innovative twists to traditional dishes that ultimately make as much of a statement as the team’s 2007 Stanley Cup championship.
Born and raised in Tallahassee, Fla., Doyle dishes out Southern-inspired comfort food at the Honda Center’s Shock Top Terrace and Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club restaurant and bar, in addition to heading up catering and concessions. It’s “a lot of places for a lot of people all at once,” says the chef, who earned his B.S. in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University, but that’s nothing new: He most recently came off an executive chef position at the legendary Churchill Downs—home of the Kentucky Derby—and has curated menus for events such as the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, Ryder Cup, MTV Video Music Awards and NBA Finals, as well as performers like U2, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.
At both the Saturday and Sunday Grand Tasting Pavilions during this year’s Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, guests can try “a blend of traditional flavors with a fun twist” from the chef who also spent time at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. In anticipation of sampling his cuisine, Newport Beach Magazine caught up with Doyle to get to know the chef behind the Honda Center.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH JO-JO DOYLE
What’s the first dish you remember cooking?
[I] can’t remember the dish in particular, but cooking with my grandmother when I was a child all the time was what I remember best.
What is your current favorite ingredient to work with?
I don’t have one at the moment. I have been playing around with a lot of “raw” recipes as of late.
Biggest kitchen pet peeve?
It not being organized and clean
Name one famous figure you’d most like to cook for.
Probably Jimmy Fallon. He looks like he is having the time of his life. He has the job of his dreams, and it would be very cool to talk about that because I also have the job I’ve always dreamed of. It’s not as cool as hosting “The Tonight Show,” but I am having a damn good time and not a lot of people can say [that].
If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anything that either of my grandmothers have made. It could even be cereal. They just make everything taste so damn good that it would not matter.
2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim
NEWPORT BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
Newport Beach Magazine is a sponsor of the 2015 Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival.