Chef Aaron Barnett of St. Jack - Biography

Portland, OR

November 2011

2011 Portland Rising Star Aaron Barnett grew up in Canada in a household of foodies—he ate frog’s legs for the first time at the age of eight. Barnett’s family moved to the United States when he was a teenager, where he eventually enrolled in the California School of Culinary Arts’ Cordon Bleu program to pursue his longtime goal of becoming a chef. Barnett externed in his native Canada at Lumière in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was immediately taken with the flavors and produce available in the Pacific Northwest. Diving headfirst into the vast array of available ingredients, he began to put together the building blocks that would become his signature style. During this exciting time, he also became an assistant to Chef Rob Feenie on the television show, “New Classics, with Rob Feenie” on Food Network Canada.

Barnett moved to San Francisco to work under Gary Danko, and he soon took a sous chef position at up-and-coming Myth in San Francisco under Chef Sean O’Brien. In little under a year, Barnett was made executive chef at the Desert Sage in La Quinta, California. After a move and an executive chef role at Olea in Portland, Oregon, Barnett was wooed to the highly regarded 23Hoyt, where he was fortunate enough to participate in a James Beard dinner. After he was introduced to restaurateur Kurt Huffman of Chefstable, the two teamed in 2010 up to open St. Jack—a modern take on a traditional Lyonnaise bouchon. It’s here that Barnett puts the sophistication learned at Gary Danko to work, breathing new life into French bistro staples.