Waxman is a native Californian. Raised in Berkeley, he was nurtured in the food arts from an early age. While selling Ferraris in Berkeley, the owner offered to introduce Jonathan to the Tante Marie cooking school in San Francisco, which led to his enrollment in the La Varenne School in Paris where he received the Grand Diplome and mastered the fundamentals of classic French Food. He returned to the United States to work at Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley and later with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse.
In 1979, Jonathan became the Executive Chef at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica. There he developed his version of Californian cuisine. His sous chefs included Mark Peel, Gordon Naccarato, Nancy Silverton, Roy Yamaguchi, Kazuto Matsusaka and many others. Jonathan moved to New York with business partner Melvyn Master and opened the celebrated Jams on East 79th Street. Florence Fabricant of The New York Times referred to the opening of Jams as a “culinary comet.” Jams was followed by Bud’s, Jams London, Table 29 in Napa Valley and Washington Park in New York.
Today, Jonathan is the chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan’s West Village and Adele’s in the Gulch neighborhood of Nashville. In the summer of 2014, Waxman partnered with director, Ivan Reitman, to open Montecito restaurant in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District. His first cookbook, A Great American Cook, was published in 2007 and his second book, Italian My Way, was released in April 2011.
Jonathan participated in two seasons of Top Chef Masters on Bravo, where he earned the nickname ‘Obi Wan Kenobi’. He is a founding partner of Nashville’s Music City Food + Wine Festival. Giving back to the community is one of Jonathan’s core philosophies, and he works closely with many charities, including City Meals on Wheels and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.