From the time Alan Jackson was 18, he knew that cooking and restaurants would be his path. He worked his first restaurant job at Gladstone's when he was 14. Jackson spent all summer cleaning the copper boat that hung out front and washed dishes. He cooked all through college, and opened both his first restaurant, Jackson's, plus the Farm in Beverly Hills at the age of 23.
Check out the first part of our interview with Alan over here. And then continue below with part two . . .
Tell us about your family. My wife and business partner Heidi and I have three beautiful daughters who are all so different in their own ways. I come from a big Hollywood family: my grandfather was Alan Ladd, most known for the movie Shane; and my father is the venerable talk show host, Michael Jackson. I am deeply rooted in Los Angeles, with tons of cousins, extended family and friends. They have all supported me in my goal of being a chef and restauranteur.
What other skills do you have outside of the kitchen? I'm a good gardener. I love construction, and know i well. But I can't use a hammer to save my life.
Hardest lesson you've learned: Becoming a leader worth following.
What were you up to five years ago? Building Lemonade, running my catering company, cooking events such as the SAG awards, the BET awards, weddings and the occasional "divorce party". Also taking my kids to nursery school and first grade.
Where did you grow up? I'm born and bred in Los Angeles.
Last song playing on your radio? Gray Street by Dave Matthews.
Last book read; how was it? Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. The character, Roark, embodies the spirit needed to be successful as a business builder. I think it's his independence that I so relate to.
When you're not in the kitchen, what are you doing? With my family and friends. And an occasional fishing trip.
What's your favorite childhood memory? My family had a ranch in the back of Hidden Valley in Thousand Oaks. We'd pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken, corn, biscuits with butter and honey, and we'd sit under the big oak tree that was central to the property. After lunch, I'd pull around our stubborn donkey.
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Last thing you looked up online? How many tons of hay does an acre yield?
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I'd be a farmer/rancher.
Is there anything you'd like readers to know? We live in a time when "pretty" isn't cool. I'm a firm believer that while the current fad is gruff, "pretty" will prevail!