Born and raised in Jasper, Indiana, Paul Fehribach's small-town upbringing instilled in him a passion for heritage recipes. His summers were filled with fishing, hunting, foraging for mushrooms and helping in the garden at his grandparents' farmhouse. Fond memories of working alongside his mother in the kitchen and cooking from family heirloom recipes resulted in an appreciation for fresh, seasonal ingredients and a love for traditional cooking. As the executive chef and co-owner of Big Jones in Chicago, he showcases his homespun-style of cooking and commitment to finding and preserving historic foods of the American South.
Chef Paul is a graduate of Indiana University's Jacob School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. Following graduation, he served as the executive chef at Chapman's Restaurant & Bar where he further explored cooking with local and organic ingredients and heirloom seeds. In the early 1990s, he joined the opening group of Laughing Planet Café in downtown Bloomington before moving to Chicago in 1996. He transitioned to the front of house while working at restaurants Hi Ricky Asian Noodle Shop in Deerfield, Ill. and finally Schubas Tavern & Harmony Grill.
By 2008, Paul was ready to return to the kitchen. He branched out on his own with the opening of his restaurant Big Jones. His regionally-inspired fare with Cajun, Creole, Lowcountry and Appalachia influences has garnered both local and national acclaim, including Best New Restaurant by Chicago Magazine. With a focus on utilizing seasonal heirloom crops, he actively supports co-ops, small farmers and frequents Chicago's Green City Market. When not hard at work in the kitchen, Paul volunteers for the Healthy Schools Campaign and Chicago Public Schools' "Go for the Gold" campaign to promote healthy eating in schools and combat childhood obesity.