There are not many food connoisseurs in Cincinnati who aren’t familiar with Chef Jimmy Gibson. Gibson was born in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, but first relocated to Cincinnati from Dayton in the mid-80s to be the Executive Chef of a then popular downtown restaurant called the Phoenix. At that time, the Phoenix garnered national attention being named one of the “Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire Magazine. After a little over a year, he left to start Ciao Baby Restaurant Group, with sites in Harper’s Point (Cincinnati) and Washington, D.C. Gibson traveled to the latter to work as Executive Chef there for two years, before moving on to Executive Chef at Dolce – one of the top Italian restaurants in New York City in the early 90s. He returned to Cincinnati to open Jeff Ruby’s Spazzi Italian restaurant on the upper level of the Waterfront and was Executive Chef there for over a year. He was subsequently approached by Plaza 600 at the Aronoff Center (now home of Nada) to act as Executive Chef and accepted. During his service there, The Enquirer’s food critic at the time, Chuck Martin, called it the first “cool, modern, big-city restaurant in Cincinnati”. Next, he moved to Naples, Florida, to open a restaurant with a friend, and also to Miami to consult Chef Normand Van Aken. Later, he returned to Cincinnati to help Jeff Ruby transform Waterfront to the South Beach Grill. He was there for several years as the Executive Chef before being promoted to the Corporate Chef for Jeff Ruby’s Culinary Entertainment. Respected restaurant and food writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Polly Campbell gave the South Beach Grill “5 out of 5 stars” – a rating that was rarely given to restaurants in Cincinnati during that period. He eventually left to revitalize Red restaurant in Hyde Park Square and currently works as Executive Chef for Jimmy G’s which opened in December of 2011. Additionally, Gibson designed the Quality BarGrub (QBG) menu at FB’s, located at 126 W. 6th Street.
Fun facts about Chef Jimmy Gibson:
*He was voted Cincinnati’s Favorite Foodies by Cincinnati Enquirer
*Cincinnati Magazine has repeatedly invited Gibson to do food-styling for various photo shoots
*Gibson was invited by the Food Network to co-star in several live network events; he co-starred in the Food Network series called Ready, Set, Cook (a 30-minute version of Iron Chef, 2000) and won three out of four battles with a competing chef out of San Francisco, CA.