San Diego's James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalist Chef Jon Bautista Leaves The Fishery In Pacific Beach

January 21, 2024

James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist, Jonathan Bautista, has left The Fishery restaurant in San Diego's Pacific Beach.

Chef Jonathan Bautista graduated from The Art Institute of California with an Associates of Science in Culinary Arts in 2005, and began his career as a line cook at now-defunct Roy’s in La Jolla. He eventually moved on to become a sous chef at Kitchen 1540 in Del Mar under Chef Paul McCabe before leaving to join the opening team of Michael Voltaggio’s INK in Los Angeles. Bautista returned to San Diego as chef de cuisine of Kitchen 1540 in late 2011, and in late 2013, he became head chef of Georges at the Cove under Chef/Owner Trey Foshee.

In 2019, Bautista left Georges and joined Common Theory in Kearny Mesa. Then in early 2021, he was hired as Executive Chef at Kingfisher modern Vietnamese restaurant in San Diego's Golden Hill, a position that earned him a James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist nomination for the Best Chef, California category. Last year, it was announced Chef Bautista was leaving Kingfisher only one day after it was released he was not a finalist for this year's James Beard Awards. It is believed he maintained his position until the James Beard announcement, as it is required by the awards process that a chef be associated with a restaurant to win a Best Chef category. In spring 2023, Bautista took over as Executive Chef of acclaimed San Diego seafood restaurant due to Chef Mike Reidy's departure to join Callie restaurant in San Diego's East Village. 

We have now received information that Bautista has left the employ of The Fishery in Pacific Beach. The restaurant has since promoted longtime sous chef Noah Newhart to lead the kitchen. There is no word on the reason for Bautista's departure or where he is working now. We reached out to The Fishery for more information but they declined to comment. 

The Fishery was launched by fourth-generation La Jolla fisherman Judd Brown as a restaurant offshoot of sister seafood wholesaler Pacific Shellfish back in 1997. Over its more than two decade tenure, the restaurant and market has become a San Diego destination for fresh seafood. 

The Fishery is located at 5040 Cass Street in San Diego's Pacific Beach. For more information, visit

Photo by Alex Toussaint