While some young boys dream of becoming astronauts or baseball players, Josh Thomsen’s 6th grade yearbook listed “Chef” as his career of choice. This New Jersey native credits his ambitions to his father Jerry, an accomplished amateur chef.
Named a “Rising Star Chef” for the San Francisco Bay Area by StarChefs in 2010, Thomsen is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and honed his skills with some of the most prominent chefs in the country kicking off his career at the Hotel Bel-Air and Pinot Bistro in Southern California. He then relocated to Aspen, Colorado to work at the Little Nell Hotel, a Relais Chateau property as Chef de Cuisine before moving to Napa Valley Wine Country to work at the French Laundry under Thomas Keller, whom he credits as a major influence on his career. Then after spending two years in Napa Valley, Thomsen was drawn to the lights, action and many culinary hot spots of Las Vegas where he continued to build his resume at the exclusive “Mansion” at the MGM Grand Hotel as well as being an Executive Sous Chef for Michael Mina.
An opportunity as Executive Sous Chef at The Lodge at Pebble Beach lured him back to the California coast and in a few years he was back on the strip as Corporate Executive Chef for Innovative Dining Group overseeing the opening of three restaurants – two in Las Vegas and a third in Los Angeles. Before returning to California, he opened the 400-seat Tao restaurant at the Venetian Resort. During his two-year tenure it became the highest grossing restaurant in the country.
Next Josh was back in California as the Executive Chef at the historic Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley. Overseeing thirty-three thousand square feet of banquet space, room service for two hundred and seventy-nine rooms as well as two restaurants (Meritage & Paragon). It was here that he was awarded the Rising Star Chef for the Bay Area.
In his role as Executive Chef/Partner at Agricola restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey. (back in his home state) Thomsen offers a hyper-seasonal menu inspired by the best ingredients from small farmers, ranchers, fisherman and of course our own Great Road Farm. When Agricola was only five months old it was named one of the top restaurant in New Jersey and named one of the top ten best new restaurants in the United States for 2014 by Gayot. He is presently co-writing the Agricola Cookbook due to come out in the fall of this year.
When he is not in the kitchen, he can be found watching his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, or his Dad’s favorite football team, the New York Giants, while unwinding with his favorite cocktail, a Farmers Gin & Tonic. He is a supporter of the James Beard Foundation, The V Foundation for Cancer Research and Keep the Memory Alive, a charitable foundation supporting research for Alzheimer’s disease. And he has partnered with Taste of the NFL, an organization that rallies the top chefs and NFL’s greatest to raise money in support of food banks. He enjoys traveling the world to explore new cuisines and cultures having been to France, Switzerland, Italy, Mexico and Russia.