Chef Jennifer Naylor: A Passion for Haute Cuisine

Few have accomplished their lifelong passion with as much class as Jennifer Naylor. Her love of preparing cuisine has translated into a successful career as a premier caterer in Malibu, Calif. for more than a decade, where she cooks for a variety of A-list celebrities and prominent personalities.

As the executive chef of the former Granita restaurant in Malibu, founded by Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff, Naylor received rave reviews from Los Angeles Times Magazine’s food critic, S. Irene Virbila, who called her food “inventive and delicious,” the quality “outstanding” and the desserts “most impressive.”

Restaurant critic, Patric Kuh, in the January, 2005 Los Angeles Magazine’s “Best Restaurants Issue,” touted Granita as one of L.A.’s Top 25 Places To Eat. And he wrote of Naylor, “her skills cast a nurturing glow over the ingredients … inducing an altered state. But it is with Italian dishes that she compresses a nation’s cooking into its essential form.”

For seven years under Naylor’s management, Granita was the proud recipient of the DiRoNa (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) award, and also received the “Award of Excellence” from the Wine Spectator. She has been featured in Bon Appetit, Saveur Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Redbook, Angeleno, Los Angeles Confidential, The Daily News, Restaurant Business Journal and Nation’s Restaurant News

A native Californian, Naylor followed in her father and grandfather’s footsteps into the restaurant business. “My grandfather founded the Tiny Naylor’s chain, one of California’s original family-style restaurants,” she said. “My father is Biff Naylor, who currently owns and operates Du-par’s restaurants,” which is another one of Los Angeles’ long-standing traditions in the restaurant world.

Puck and Lazaroff welcomed Naylor as the Executive Chef of Granita in 1997, following a twelve-month immersion in Italian cuisine working with Gianfranco Vissani at his Michelin 2 star restaurant in Umbria. Naylor also worked with Nadia Santini, Italy’s only 3 star rated woman chef from Dal Pescatore in Cannetto sull’ Oglio. Before her union with Granita, she assisted in the opening of Spago’s new location in Chicago.

In the fall of 2005, Jennifer Naylor launched her first solo venture into private catering and Special Event Planning. She is now serving her unique menus and creative techniques to her celebrated and devoted clients. Naylor also works to support the community, cooking for fundraisers and an ongoing list of charitable causes. She is a culinary contributor to the annual Meals on Wheels Charity, The American Cancer Society, Share Our Strength, The American Institute of Food and Wine and Cystic Fibrosis, as well as Special Olympics and the City Hearts Benefits.

Jennifer Naylor continues to be inspired through her travels and pilgrimages to visit her various mentors who have had a tremendous impact on her career. Through her remarkable dedication, she continues to pursue her culinary passions, introducing her inventive cuisine and personal style to her most loyal and adoring clientele.

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