Russell Jackson is a dynamic, articulate, passionate individual who is one of the forerunners in the underground dining/private supper club movement. With his classical culinary background and bad boy attitude, he's a modern day food pirate whose sole goal is to turn conventional on its head. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Jackson made his grand, culinary debut at the age of three after a successful foray into creating breakfast on his own. Accustomed to learning by trial and error, and fascinated by watching his mother cook on their match lit stove, he decided food would be an integral part of his life forever.
Though his attention to detail has improved with age, Russell's insatiable thirst to watch and learn from those he admires remains, driving him to work for some of the top Los Angeles and San Francisco area restaurants and chefs.
Russell graduated at the top of his class from the California Culinary Academy in 1990. After graduating, he returned to LA to open his first restaurant, Russell's. In 1999, he headed back to San Francisco as chef for Black Cat in North Beach. In 2005, Chef Jackson became fed up with the standard restaurant scene and boldly proclaimed 'Reject Dystopian Ways, Embrace Culinary r(E)volution', creating SubCulture Dining (SCD), his underground supper club. SCD allowed Russell the freedom to create and experiment, push past expectations, and make inspired choices in his menus. Living up to his motto, Russell has made his career by breaking culinary boundaries both in the traditional restaurant world and the underground dining sphere. Taking his culinary r(E)volution above ground, he opened his Embarcadero restaurant, Lafitte, which initially had a completely new menu daily.
From 2010 until it closed two years later, Lafitte was a platform for Russell to create dishes inspired by French brasserie classics, showcasing fresh, local ingredients, and allowed him to rail against the foie gras ban with his FU Foie: ReDucks tasting dinners With the closing of Lafitte, Russell would go on to appear on Iron Chef against Chef Jose Garces. Next he landed a slot on season 9 of The Next Food Network Star, where he impressed the judges with his emphasis on 'sinful' ingredients and passionate approach to each dish, and would ultimately come in 3rd place. Despite Lafitte closing and his recent inroads in the television space, Russell continues his culinary crusade on both coasts, splitting time between NYC and San Francisco, keeping the r(E)volution alive by expanding SCD in both coastal markets, much to the delight of his many fans throughout the country. He's known as "The Don" of the underground dining world and it's not uncommon for him to get calls from the organizers of young and newly created supper clubs asking him to come down and critique their experience.
Russell is a pure pro who can go it alone, but also plays well with others. His congenial relations with kitchen staff and front house crews are well known in NYC, so there would also be opportunities to show his good heart that hides behind the tough guy image. Chef Jackson is also a working professional, and has a consortium of workers that he pulls together regularly to throw dinners coast to coast. He's looking at opportunities to brand SubCulture Dining as a collective business, serving as executive consultant.