Photography provided by 350 Main

Executive Chef Jason Johnson fashions menus with local tastes.

Entering a restaurant with the right aura, perfectly dimmed lighting, a smiling face at the door and tables with a beautiful view is truly a luxury. Even better is when the food goes above and beyond expectations.

Mountain | Meet the ChefThat’s exactly the environment Jason Johnson, executive chef at 350 Main, creates for anyone walking through the door. Since 2020, when he joined the restaurant as a line cook and quickly worked up to sous-chef, chef de cuisine and ultimately executive chef.

“I became a chef because I enjoyed entertaining people,” Johnson said.

“When I was younger, my mom was always entertaining and cooking. I loved it. It’s embedded in me — I just love bringing joy to others with my cooking.”

Originally from San Diego, but growing up in Park City, Johnson has hardly strayed from the quaint mountain town. He went to culinary school at Pikes Peak Community College in ColoradoSprings and then stayed in Colorado to work at various restaurants. However, ultimately Johnson wanted to be closer to family and share his expertise in “a culinary-driven town like Park City,” he said. Plus, Johnson couldn’t stay away from Guardsman Pass too long, noting it is his favorite spot in the area to enjoy picturesque views.

“I came back here wondering, ‘Why did it take me so long to come back?’” Johnson joked. 

Mountain | Meet the Chef“There are so many great places here.” Park City has grown a whole lot since he moved here, Johnson said, and seeing the vegetation and towering trees represents everything flourishing. And he’s excited to be part of the vibrant scene. After seeing the intriguing menu at 350 Main, Johnson was sold on his first Park City job and appreciates the support and opportunities provided by owners Cortney Johanson and Fabio Ferreira and previous Executive Chef Matthew Safranek. He allows seasonal ingredients serve as the standout stars. Being in Utah, there’s a plethora of companies that provide valuable local ingredients such as tomatoes, herbs and meat.

“I like the ingredients to be the star of the dish,” Johnson said. “The hallmark of my cooking is letting the ingredients speak for themselves. I don’t manipulate too much; I keep things simple and like to bring the same love into each dish.”

The difference between just cooking and putting bold flavors out there is in the process. He referenced a summer halibut dish, which features a French tomato salsa sauce. To make the sauce, Johnson includes capers, garlic, olive oil and confit tomatoes, demonstrating the love and care that goes into all parts of a recipe.

Mountain | Meet the ChefThe pork belly on the menu is one of his favorite things to make. “It takes a lot of time and care, and we bring it back each year. It’s a three- or four-day process, which you definitely need some patience for. You need to pay attention to it to ensure nothing goes wrong during that time,” he emphasized.

“We cure it first in a white wine brine for 24 hours, then dry it off,” Johnson explained. “It then takes 24 hours to cook once dry, then needs to cool down before we can portion it out. This dish is served with charred Brussel sprouts, crispy quinoa, peppadews, a homemade apple butter and mustard gastrique. We keep it on the menu year-round because we love it here, but it’s perfect in the winter because of the warm spices in the brine.”

When developing a menu, Johnson prioritizes fresh and unique seasonal ingredients, instead of ordering items that are available at any time. For example, summer months bring more vegetables and fish to the table, while winter means more roots and meats.

He also likes to create a fun environment for his culinary team, because he believes that curating a good vibe for guests starts with the crew. “I try not to take myself too seriously,” Johnson said. “The moment you do, you’re falling flat on your face.”

Not only does Johnson foster a familystyle environment for his staff and an inviting dining room, but he also makes customers feel as though he’s cooking just for them. He calls himself “the king of substitutions,” bending over backwards for diners with allergies or food sensitivities. Guests can call in advance or bring an allergy card.

With over 20 restaurants under his belt, often working two jobs at the same time to learn more, Johnson brings a special flair and charisma to Park City’s dining scene. He’s not afraid to try new things, bring interesting flavors to the forefront, and continually revamp a menu.

“Here at 350 Main, our pursuit of deliciousness is not only a job, it’s a way of living,” Johnson said. “We all want to bring joy to others and help create memorable moments. Doing that through food is just like speaking another language to me, and I just love that I can understand and do that.”

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