Chef Jonathan Blackford Brings Fork & Knife to Orange County


In the midst of uncertainty throughout the culinary industry, Chef Jonathan Blackford addresses the current needs of the community with the opening of his new concept, Fork & Knife, set to debut October 2020. Speaking to the state of the restaurant industry, Chef Blackford’s endeavor will not include a dining room or formal seating for dine-in business, but rather focus on family meals for daily pick-up, grab-and-go prepared foods, and a high-end market with many house-made items.

“Fork & Knife is actually three concepts in one and I believe that it speaks to current dining habits and what the public wants right now,” commented Chef Blackford, who has received much attention for the globally inspired, progressive menus he created as Executive Chef for A Restaurant and CdM Restaurant over the past decade. “It has always been my goal to open a restaurant of my own, but the timing isn’t right for a full-service dining experience. What people want right now is a neighborhood place that offers fully prepared dinners, quick meals to carryout and quality products that you would find at a gourmet market – that’s what Fork & Knife aims to deliver.”

Fork & Knife, a concept from Chef Jonathan Blackford that addresses the current needs of the community, is set to open Thursday, October 1 in Costa Mesa (401 E. 17th Street, Suite A2). Chef Blackford’s concept does not include a dining room or seating for dine-in business, but rather focuses on complete family meals for daily pick-up, grab-and-go prepared foods, and a high-end market with many house-made items.

Fork & Knife will offer inspired, seasonal, from-scratch fully prepared dishes, as well as retail-focused items such as fresh-made pastas, jams, sauces, dressings and more. The market will also feature many of Chef Blackford’s favorite artisan products, from a selection of olive oils, to vinegars and grains. The kitchen will offer freshly made grab-and-go items daily, ranging from sandwiches, prepared pastas, and easy-to-eat-on-the-go dishes.

The culinary focus of Fork & Knife will be a daily Hot Menu that can ordered by the person, online or via phone, with 24 hours advance notice. Changing weekly, the menu will consist of rolls, salad, protein and dessert. Chef Blackford’s masterful way with steaks will be seen in his hand-picked selections from the best ranches around the world, which will be complemented with fresh seafood options.

“I want to serve as an extension to the home kitchen by providing the freshest and most flavorful meals and dishes,” explained Chef Blackford. “There is nothing more comforting than a home-cooked meal enjoyed with family and friends, but with time being the biggest challenge in our lives, we’re handling the heavy lifting so those in our community don’t have to sacrifice quality.”

Combining our passion for food, thirst for knowledge, and years of experience, Chef Jonathan Blackford brings a unique perspective and commitment to quality to everything that comes out of his kitchen.

Born a Pittsburgh native, Chef Blackford’s culinary journey began at a young age and his training at the Culinary Institute of America led him into the kitchens at Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill Stone Barns, and Round Hill Country Club. A defining moment for Chef Blackford would come during a six-month externship at The Lodge in Torrey Pines. The thoughtfulness and procurement that went into every ingredient, mixed with precise cooking techniques and an ever-evolving menu, created the foundation and approach to his style. His sophisticated skill set and style led him to be sought after by Hilton Hotels’ Waterfront Beach Resort to serve as Chef de Cuisine for a new restaurant.

It was after several successful years at the Waterfront Resort, that Chef Blackford found himself at the center of the Orange County restaurant scene as Executive Chef at A Restaurant in Newport Beach. His passion and love of ingredients positioned A Restaurant as one of the most iconic, beloved and best restaurants in Orange County year after year. After nearly a decade with the restaurant, he went on to open sister location, CdM Restaurant in Corona del Mar, which quickly found itself on many Best Of lists.

After nearly 25 years of experience and knowledge, Chef Blackford is able to let his passion blossom and create his foothold in the industry that he has grown to love so much, with the introduction of his first new concept, Fork & Knife.

Led by Chef Jonathan Blackford, Fork & Knife aims to present a menu of progressive, modern dishes that are meant to be enjoyed at home. Serving as an extension of the home kitchen, the concept presents globally inspired dishes that focus on fresh ingredients and bold flavors while presenting an innovative experience. Fork & Knife’s honest approach to cooking comes through in grab-and-go items and thoughtfully prepared menus meant to satisfy a range of tastes.

Partnering with Chef Blackford to present the concept is Doug Garn, best known as President and CEO of Quest Software in 2005. When the company was sold to Dell in 2012 for 2.4 billion, it freed Garn to focus on several personal investments and ventures, including the opening of A Restaurant. It was there that he, along with wife, Julie Garn, created a tremendous working relationship with Chef Blackford – and the team has reunited to bring its first restaurant concept together to fruition with Fork & Knife. Overseeing all design and non-food merchandising for the concept is Chef Blackford’s wife, Kristi, who will also assist in-house regularly.

Fork & Knife will open Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 401 E. 17th Street, Suite A2, in Costa Mesa. Hours of operation will be Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed Monday). For more information, menus and reservations, please call 949.887.0330 or visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email