Sunday, September 25 , 2016, 1:21 am | Fair 60º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube
 
 
 
 

Local News

Chef Joe Hafner Serving Up a New Noozhawk Column

Word of Mouth will offer perspectives on a variety of culinary topics and issues

Trading a home on the East Coast for one on the West, Chef Joe Hafner admits he’s still exploring Santa Barbara’s hidden culinary gems since moving to the city eight months ago.

The private chef, formerly at the helm of Providence, R.I., farm-to-table restaurant Gracie’s for almost five years, is the latest addition to Noozhawk’s team of columnists, and will be writing Word of Mouth, a weekly offering focused on the many angles of Santa Barbara County’s food landscape. Click here to read his debut column.

Instead of writing reviews, Hafner’s column will focus on things such as posing 20 questions with personalities who make up Santa Barbara culinary landscape.

Recipes paired with local outings to the Saturday fish markets and a once-a-month trip to a local farmers market to explore local ingredients are also in the works.

“Part of it is just exploring the food scene here,” he said.

Hafner is already steeped in the food culture of Santa Barbara’s Eastside, living just blocks from one of Julia Child’s favorite local haunts, La Super Rica Taqueria.

He’s interested in looking at some of the hardworking personalities behind the scenes, such as sous-chefs and local winemakers.

“I always find those people fascinating,” he said.

Hafner also said he won’t be shy about diving into meatier topics. Water and property rights, high rent prices that have lead to a proliferation of food trucks on the South Coast, and fishing practices are policy issues that have very real implications on what ends up on the plates, and in the restaurants, of residents, he said.

Some columns looking at food- and wine-based weekend trips on the Central Coast may also be in the works, he said.

When he’s not writing for Noozhawk, Hafner spends his time working as a private chef locally.

In addition to his tenure at Gracie’s, during which the restaurant was featured in Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, Hafner also worked as a private chef for director Wes Anderson and the cast of Moonrise Kingdom during the movie’s shoot in Rhode Island. 

Hafner’s road to the culinary wasn’t always so clear cut. Just one semester short of graduating with a degree in political science with the aim of going on to law school, Hafner admits to doing some soul-searching and calling his mom for advice. She encouraged him to pursue cooking, and “it was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Hafner said.

Hafner studied at the Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts, completed internships in England and France, and went on to cook at the James Beard House, travel to Burgundy to be a guest chef for BikeRiders and was even featured on the Today show.

Hafner has been working in Southern California for two years, but officially moved to Santa Barbara eight months ago.

Hafner’s girlfriend, Jessica, is already active among Santa Barbara’s wine scene and is working for Jaffurs Wine Cellars.

“We’re lucky to live out here,” he said. “We plan to stay around.”

Hafner welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns, and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >