Seasonal. Sustainable. Plant Based. Rustic. Comforting.
These five words best describe the direction of Donna Jean. This restaurant is a concept that chef Roy has been dreaming about for the past few years and, now that it’s here, we are excited to be doing something special...something from the heart and that will be felt by our guests as soon as they walk in the door.
Donna Jean was the name of chef Roy’s mom. She died at the young age of 55 from aggressive breast cancer and he believes it absolutely could have been prevented if she would have been given the knowledge and resources to seek out a plant based diet earlier in life. This gave him a passion to create something that would not only have made her proud but to introduce a form of plant based cuisine that even the most stubborn meat eaters can appreciate.
That being said, this IS NOT a health food restaurant. Our goal is to start a conversation about what plant based cuisine can be and hopefully that will set the wheels in motion for a larger movement.
We want Donna Jean to be an everyday restaurant. A place in the neighborhood that is inviting and feels like home every time someone walks through the door.
Chef Roy grew up just outside St. Louis, Missouri in the cornfields of Illinois. Homecooked meals, summers on his grandma’s farm in Southern Ohio, travels as a touring musician, and life in San Diego, Los Angeles, and just outside of Portland, Oregon, all shaped his culinary vision.
As the former head chef of SunCafe in Studio City, CA, his cast iron Mac’n Cheese won accolades and was named ‘the best vegan mac and cheese ever” by the Huffington Post. While working for Matthew Kenney and Executive Chef Scott Winegard at Plant Food and Wine in Venice, CA, he honed his craft, helped them win the Most Sustainable Restaurant Award, and got the chance to travel to Bahrain where he assisted in opening that country’s first vegan restaurant.
Now Chef Roy has returned to San Diego to open his own signature dinner house in loving memory of his mother, Donna Jean, who was lost prematurely to cancer at the young age of 55.