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Jeff Olsson

Some people may know chef Jeff Olsson as the Ramen King of Santa Barbara, a title he won in 2017 for a duck and salmon noodle dish. But most days, Olsson is known as the chef-owner, with his wife, Janet, of restaurant and craft butcher shop Industrial Eats, in Buellton, in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. The couple opened Industrial in 2014, 15 years after they’d launched New West Catering together. Jeff grew up in Atlanta, and he met Janet when both worked at chef Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, in New York (she was front of the house and he was in the kitchen). Jeff went on to work with Dean Fearing at the Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas), and at Mark Miller’s Red Sage, in Washington, D.C.  And then it was time to go their own way, in California.

At New West, which they still operate, they offer eclectic menus—a farm-to-table menu, say, that features cracked-pepper-crusted New York strip, with duck-fat fries, grilled jumbo asparagus, and Cabernet jus, or lemon-truffle-thyme roasted jidori chicken, with Gruyère potato gratin, grilled jumbo asparagus, and Chardonnay jus. Or maybe you’re in the mood for Spanish or Mexican dishes, or just a classic American feast.

The restaurant has been a dream for quite a while, and they opened exactly what they wanted: a local place near a craft brewery where you can find house-made charcuterie and great local cheeses, while also sitting down at communal tables for small plates of yellowtail crudo or roasted poussin, and oysters. Wood-fired pizzas are regulars on the menu, but there are specials like an Ethiopian feast of spicy berbere-stewed beef, yellow lentils, greens, and injera. It’s that kind of place, and it follows the Olssons’ moods and the market.

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