"I have been privileged to establish countless friendships and strong ties to the community through the Art of Hospitality. Which is, in my world, a chance to serve our fellow humans of all walks of life good food with humility and gratitude" - it is with this philosophy that Chef Jon Magnusson operates his restaurant
Born in Akranes, a coastal village across the bay from Iceland’s biggest city Reykjavik, Jon Magnusson spent much of his childhood fishing at the local Pier and observing the larger ships as they came in from abroad. Not long after, a dream was born to become the captain of one of those ships in order to travel the world.
On the eve of his 15th birthday Jon sailed towards Rotterdam, Holland, to pursue this dream. However, not everything went to plan and as a result of being underage, his first job on the ship was as a helper in the kitchen not a deck hand!
Returning back home to a frantic mother two weeks later with a tattoo Jon set a new course to a career as a Chef, who could travel the world.
Sailing on different ships whilst completing high school, Jon’s travels on the high seas took him to places as far away as England, West & East Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Russia & Poland.
Graduating from High School, Jon enrolled in the Hotel and Restaurant School of Iceland, a four-year apprentice ship program in conjunction with Hotel Esja. From this experience he learned the fundamentals of classical French and Continental Cuisine. Still having a desire to explore the rest of the world, he set his sails towards Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A destination, with which, Jon had long had a love affair. During his time in this beautiful country Jon engulfed the colors and the flavors of Brazil, learning the culinary history of the immigrants from Portugal, Italy along with other European countries and the exotic influences and traditions of the African slaves.
Following a year of fun, sun and countless caipirinha’s (Brazil’s national cocktail) Chef Jon's heart longed for California. It was here, in 1995, that he opened his first restaurant, Bistro 211 in Carmel, CA. Chef Jon’s intention was to operate a Neighborhood restaurant catering to the local community and for the last 15 years has done just that.
Chef Magnusson's most recent culinary venture, Nonni's Bistro in Pleasanton, CA opened in July 2010 and is fast becoming a favorite dining spot for both locals and visitors alike.
Chef Jon says "Both Bistro 211 and Nonni's Bistro have been wonderful opportunities to express experiences and feelings through food and service.”