Chef Jason Alley
"Lifetime Achievement Award", ELBY Awards 2016
"Rising Star Chef", STAR CHEFS 2014
Executive Chef/Partner, Pasture + Comfort Restaurants, Richmond, VA
Chef Jason Alley grew up in Pulaski, Virginia, where agriculture was the mainstay of the local economy. At the age of four he industriously started cooking and never really stopped, helping out his busy family by whipping up Southern comfort food. His first professional food job was at St. Louis-based fast food chain, Hardee’s. Alley resolved to go to college, but he soon realized that he was not well-suited to the world of academia and left to work at a Quaker-owned orchard near Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Fate intervened when a group of friends washing dishes at Harrisonburg Country Club encouraged him to join them. Soon he started prepping food and watching the chefs cook. It wasn’t long before he had worked his way up to lead cook. He left shortly after for Champaign, Illinois and while his now-wife studied at the University of Illinois, he took a sous chef position at a bar and grill, being quickly promoted to executive chef.
The couple moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked at 1848 House, Blue Ridge Grill, and ENO. But his native state beckoned and Alley returned, this time to Richmond, for a position at the Europa Café and Tapas Bar, where he met his soon-to-be restaurant partner Chris Chandler. Alley and Chandler opened Comfort in 2002. Alley’s menu sings with a passion for the kind of Southern comfort-food classics you could picture on checkered picnic blankets in some idyllic painting.
Alley opened his second restaurant with Chandler, Pasture. Chef Jason Alley has always been inspired by Southern Food and his collection of restaurants are built on those ideals: sharing, fresh ingredients, family and friends, and good conversation. Pasture brings all of those things together for a revitalized experience in Southern dining. Instead of traditional large portions, the menu is structured by small plates and items that can be shared by the whole table. Produce and proteins are sourced from local Virginia farms + producers, influenced by the seasons. Everything feels at once, like you’re dining in a championed old restaurant and one that is effortlessly of today.