Most recently, Chef Rossman garnered the Chef Of The Year Award 2016 from the California Restaurant Association, San Diego Chapter for his commitment to community and his businesses.
Jeff Rossman, chef and co-founder of Terra American Bistro, began his culinary career in 1981 as a dishwasher at Pam Pam Cafe & Grill, his family’s restaurant. He continued working there until 1986. To help put himself through college, he got out of the family restaurant and took a position as a bell boy at the La Jolla Village Inn (now the Sheraton Hotel La Jolla) He ultimately ended up in a management position in 1989, but after graduating from UCSD in 1991, Jeff’s enthusiasm for the restaurant business led him back to full time involvement at Pam Pam, where he transformed the counter-service coffee shop into a full service operation.
Rossman’s passion for cooking led him to an externship in Boston with Chef Michael Schlow, one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs of 1997, where he learned the intricacies of fine dining. Upon his return to San Diego, he convinced his father to join forces and open Terra Restaurant & Bar in Hillcrest in May 1998. As Executive Chef at Terra, Rossman worked successfully to develop a moderately priced, American farm to table restaurant. Under Rossman’s creative guidance, Terra has achieved consistent acclaim from Zagat, the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association, and the Wine Spectator over the years. In 2010 Terra received the honor of San Diego Magazine Reader’s Poll Best of The Best. In 2011 the restaurant moved to the college area and the name changed to Terra American Bistro, with a more modernistic farm to table menu. In 2013 Terra Shared the spotlight for Best Farm To Table Restaurant in the San Diego Magazine.
Rossman, a skilled, self-taught Chef of nearly 20 years, has always been a huge proponent of San Diego’s thriving farm-to-table movement by purchasing from local farms and travelling to farmer’s markets for product. In 2011, Chef Rossman published his first cookbook showcasing local farms, school gardens and his work with the County of San Diego changing school food. His award-winning cookbook, “From Terra’s Table: is essentially a love story to the hardworking local growers and artisans he supports. In 2011, his cookbook garnered the coveted Best Cookbook award at the 17th annual San Diego Book & Writing Awards. His level of commitment, and passion shown in his book, garnered him the San Diego Farm Bureau’s inaugural San Diego Grown 365 Award also in 2011. His second cookbook, BYOB(Build Your Own Burger) published by Georgian Bay Press, was released this past year and features thousands of burger combinations as well as condiments, sides and farm to bar beverage creations.
In addition to being the executive chef and owner of Terra American Bistro and Catering, and Partner in Shalom Kosher Catering, Chef Rossman found time to help transform the family restaurant, Pam Pam, into a farm to table burger place, Bunz Burger Joint in Mission Valley in 2012 which he currently oversees on a daily basis still.
His advocacy extends beyond his restaurants and catering companies. He constantly donates time, energy and product to help the local farm to school movement assisting the Oceanside, Lemon Grove and most currently the San Ysidro School Food Services Directors teaching skills to workers and developing recipes for the kids to enjoy. Chef Rossman has also worked on projects in conjunction with Energy 103.7 and the AJ in the morning show helping to promote healthy eating with the kids. His initial project with the schools, was when he worked with Cindy Martin and Central Elementary in City heights with their Garden project, “From The Ground Up”, teaching kids the values and lessons that come from planting, nurturing, harvesting and cooking their own vegetables. He was instrumental in harvesting from the garden, bringing produce into the school kitchen, prepping the food with students and seeing the food on the salad bar. He is currently a partner with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services, Live Well San Diego and the San Diego County Farm Bureau working with children about nutrition and the environment. For his dedication to end childhood obesity, the County of San Diego bestowed upon him an honored distinction for “Sharing a Healthy Future” at the Childhood Obesity Summit, which joined forces with the Garden Project to take it County wide. Jeff was asked to consult with the Food Service Directors for the San Diego County School Districts to help their cafeteria programs and improve quality and nutritious value to the kids. October 23, 2014 was proclaimed Terra American Bistro Live Well San Diego Day by the County Board of Supervisors for Jeff’s service, commitment and leadership to the health and wellness of county residents.
Jeff has also worked with the galley at the 32nd Street Naval Station where he gave a series of classes in culinary basics to the crews to help them understand what cooking is about outside of the Navy to help them get civilian jobs. Additionally, he hopped on a naval destroyer for 3 days up to San Francisco working with the galley crew onboard.
For years now Chef Rossman has worked with the California Avocado Commission who they selected to represent them in cooking demonstrations around the country and to create recipes for their website.
Chef Rossman currently sits on the board of directors for the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association and donates time on the education committee. He’s also vice president of the board for Chef’s Celebration Foundation of San Diego, a nonprofit group that raises scholarship money for aspiring chefs, as well as on the Advisory Board for the San Diego City Schools Culinary ROP Program and the Advisory Board for the SDSU College of Extended Studies Culinary/Wine Program
You can find Chef Rossman constantly at charity events around San Diego helping fellow Chefs and supporting the San Diego Community at large. He donates time and product regularly to charities and organizations like Mama’s Kitchen, the San Diego Food Bank, the San Diego Lung Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, American Liver Foundation, Stepping Stone, Ordinary Miracles, John Moores UCSD Cancer Center, Taste of The Nation, The San Diego Zoo, The Old Globe, San Diego Symphony, The Natural History Museum, the Alzheimer’s Association and many more.