Chef John Ford is the head chef at Cameron Bar and Grill, where he serves a recognizable, yet distinctive menu of familiar dishes with creative twists. He uses unique ingredients that take food to the next level, offering an American culinary experience you won’t easily forget.
We had the chance to interview Chef John about their restaurant, how he started in the culinary industry, and some helpful tips on cooking.
FriendsEAT: Describe the cuisine served at your restaurant.
Chef John Ford: Cameron Bar and Grill serves-up fresh, authentic, southern classics, redefined. We take your favorite comfort foods and give them a toss of modern flare. I work to source my ingredients from local farms to support our area agriculturalists and to provide my guests with the freshest ingredients out there. We love what we do, and we do it right. I frequently find myself leaving the restaurant to head home, only to find myself back in the kitchen–attempting to take these all-American favorites, and kick them up a notch.
FE: What makes the restaurant special?
Chef John: Our restaurant operates successfully because at our core, we are a family. Everything we do represents how much we care about our guests and the experience they have.
FE: Where did you train?
Chef John: I completed my training at the Art Institutes of Raleigh-Durham in 2008 where I received a degree in International Culinary Arts.
FE: Did you grow up cooking or did cooking come to you later in life?
Chef John: Cooking found me later in life. In college, I was recruited to play soccer in South Carolina, and I thought that’s where both my life and career were headed. It was only later, when I took a job as a waiter, that I began to foster my passion for the culinary arts. Since then, I’ve worked my way up the culinary ladder going from waiter, to management, to sous chef, and now, head chef of Cameron Bar and Grill.
FE: Who in your life influenced your cooking the most?
Chef John: I believe my culinary life has been influenced greatly by my parents. My mother never hesitated to introduce me to novel recipes and new foods as I was growing up, which later fueled my passion to innovate and cultivate delicious cuisine for a living. My father has always told me that what I decided to do with my life career did not matter, as long as I went into work and left it with 100% dedication, passion, and happiness.
FE: What made you decide to become a chef?
Chef John: My desire to contrive something for people to enjoy. I’ve always been a competitive person, working my hardest to achieve my goals; when I cook, it’s like I’m rivaling against my own creative mindset–that’s when discovery and innovation kick in. Working my way through the culinary hierarchy helped me discover my passion.
FE: What misconceptions do people have when they first enter the culinary field?
Chef John: Many are under the impression that attending a culinary school automatically makes you a chef, and guarantees you a spot on Food Network next to Alton Brown or Rachael Ray. This is extremely false. Becoming a chef does not derive from some piece of paper or certificate, it is much more than that. Becoming a chef is a lifestyle, a creative way of being, and a passion. Being Chef is also a journey that is never fully complete, there is always new trends and new things to be learned, and you have to be willing to put in the work to master them.
FE: What is the best cooking tip you can share for a novice?
Chef John: The best tip or advice I have for a beginner is to “listen.” We all have a lot of pride and passion, but sometimes if you listen and learn from others in order to better yourself, you’ll find yourself dealing with situations more effectively and efficiently.
FE: What are your three favorite cooking tools?
Chef John: My three favorite cooking tools that I probably could not live without are: my tongs, my Shun Premier Chef Knife, and a clean towel (because lets face it everything is hot in the kitchen).
FE: What is the craziest thing that has happened in your kitchen?
Chef John: The thing about being a chef, is that everyday is different, with new challenges and milestones to overcome. Though everyday can seem like a whirlwind, I just try to live everyday as if it were my first and my last, and do my best to enjoy each minute of it.
FE: What is your favorite ingredient to cook with and why?
Chef John: Bacon is probably my favorite ingredient to cook with because its just so damn good! CBG sets out to redefine classic southern dishes and favorites, but that doesn’t mean holding off on the bacon. I have found that no matter what you are cooking, if you put bacon on it, people will love it! I love working with pig; it’s an amazing, fully edible animal that is absolutely delicious!
FE: When you’re home, what is your guilty food pleasure?
Chef John: At home I have a serious guilty food pleasure for salt and vinegar chips. I could literally eat an entire bag in one sitting!
FE: What is your favorite cookbook?
Chef John: I can’t say that I have a favorite as of yet. I like the instant gratification of researching new culinary practices online to stay in-the-know.
FE: Anything we should know that should be added to this spotlight?
Chef John: I’m a passionate chef, and I love what I do. Whether it’s hustling behind the kitchen doors to cultivate a flavorsation, thinking of ways to spruce up the menu, supporting local farmers, or greeting our guests one-on-one, I know that what I do means something.
Cameron Bar and Grill is located at 2018 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina 27605
Nearby Landmarks: Little Art Gallery & Craft, Cameron Village, and Cheshire Cat Gallery
Phone Number: (919) 755-2231
Hours of Operation:
- Monday — Thursday 11:00AM — 10:00PM
- Friday — Saturday 11:00AM — 12:00AM
- Sunday 10:00AM — 10:00PM
Dress Code: Casual
Dining Style: Casual
Cuisine Type: All-American, Redefined Classic Southern Comfort Favorites
Price Range: $5.00 – $20.00
Payment Options: Cash or Card
Check out Chef John Ford’s delicious Southern Pot Roast Recipe.
Have you been there? Leave a review and check if there are Cameron Bar and Grill Coupons for your next visit.