Chef Jon Shook of Animal - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

September 2017

It’s almost impossible to talk about food and Los Angeles without talking about Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook. Dotolo, a Florida native, began his partnership with Shook more than a decade ago when they met in culinary school at Fort Lauderdale’s The Art Institute. They’ve been hustling, innovating, and winning awards together ever since.

The duo worked together at Michelle Bernstein’s The Strand, Mark Millitello’s Mark’s, Café Maxx, The River House, and Wildflower Restaurant, before landing in Los Angeles in 2001. There, while working at Chadwick for Govind Armstrong and Ben Ford, they were inspired to launch their catering company, Caramelized Productions. While it was successful—paving the way for The Food Network series “2 Dudes Catering” and an award-winning cookbook Two Dudes, One Pan—they were ready for the next big thing.

Dotolo and Shook opened their meat-centric Animal in June 2008. Within nine months, they were named Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” and were nominated for a James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant.” They were also named StarChefs Rising Stars. Not losing any steam, their fish-driven Son of a Gun opened in 2011, and next, the duo partnered with Chef Ludo Lefebvre on Trois Mec and Petit Trois. In 2015, their namesake Jon & Vinny’s opened. The Italian spot won them the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, West” in 2016, and the same year Trois Familia made its debut in Silver Lake, again in collaboration with Lefebvre. Dotolo and Shook’s latest venture? Partnering on L.A.’s hot spot, Kismet.