Paul Fehribach calls the small Southern Indiana town of Jasper home and vividly recalls ample time as a youngster spent on family farms, exploring the wonders of kitchen gardens, and wandering the woods hunting and fishing. Years later, upon opening Big Jones, these early experiences would shape Fehribach’s approach to the Southern culinary cannon, taking cuisine beyond mere farm-to-table proclamations to find deeper meaning in the history of the Southern table, by reviving both old receipts and the ingredients used to make them, interpreted for a modern audience in the United States’ ding Capitol, Chicago.
Fehribach studied trombone at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University before deciding to pursue restaurants as a career, and in 1995 joined the opening team of the legendary Laughing Planet Cafe, one of the first organic and local foods-focused fast food restaurants in the country.
In Chicago, after front of house stints at Hi Ricky Asia Noodle Shop and Schubas Tavern, Fehribach opened Big Jones in April 2008. Big Jones’ presence was soon felt as it was named “Best New Restaurant” by Chicago Magazine in 2009, and received three stars from the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel in 2010. Most recently Fehribach has been honored as a nominee for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Great Lakes each year from 2013 through 2017.
Fehribach published the Big Jones Cookbook on University of Chicago Press in May 2015 to great celebration. He has been featured regularly on WGN’s nationally-syndicated Lunch Break, and has appeared on WBEZ Public Radio, WGN Radio, ABC-7 Chicago, and WTTS Chicago Tonight. His recipes have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-times, Plate, Traditional Home, Edible Chicago, The Chicago Reader, TastingTable, and Chicago Magazine, in addition to several compilation cookbooks.
Paul Fehribach is a proud member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, James Beard Foundation, Seed Savers Exchange, and serves on the board of Chefs Collaborative. He volunteers with Cooking Up Change, the Green City Market, Share Our Strength, and Purple Asparagus. In his spare time he’s a fitness enthusiast and avid vinyl record collector.