E.J. Hodgkinson to become the executive chef at Ford Fry’s King + Duke, starting November 17

Brian Horn steps up at JCT Kitchen
E.J. Hodgkinson

Photograph by Andrew Thomas Lee

JCT Kitchen executive chef E.J. Hodgkinson will leave his post and take over at King + Duke November 17. The news comes nearly two months after Joe Schafer, the restaurant’s opening chef, resigned from the kitchen for personal reasons (Schafer now helms the kitchen at Abattoir).

Moving Hodgkinson to King + Duke, owner Ford Fry knew he’d have another opening to fill, and he looked no further than the JCT kitchen, where sous chef Brian Horn helped Fry open the restaurant. Horn also opened St. Cecilia.

Although no menu changes are in order for JCT, Hodgkinson has some ideas up his sleeve for King + Duke. To begin, he’ll be making the food lighter, eventually releasing a new menu altogether.

“Having grown up in Northern California, where produce is abundant and sustainable farming follows strict practices, my appreciation and respect for seasonally appropriate fare is tremendous,” Hodgkinson says. “I focus on sourcing the best possible ingredients so my simple, woodfire cooking approach can speak for itself. Too often, beautiful ingredients are manipulated so much that they lose what makes them special, so I would rather highlight the true qualities of the ingredients themselves. I think that is what will set King+Duke apart from the rest.”

The news comes at a busy time for Fry and his Rocket Farms Restaurants team. Their first suburban restaurant, the El Felix, opens next week, and Krog Street Market Mex-Tex spot Superica is slated to follow.