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Thornton Winery Welcomes New Executive Chef

Café Champagne at Thornton Winery Executive Chef, Jeff D. Massey was born in North Carolina. He moved to California in 1994 when he was transferred by the Marine Corps. Jeff was an active duty Marine for 22 years. He loved food and considered himself a “recreational cook.” Whenever there was an event, he found himself gravitating toward the kitchen. Two years before retirement he had an epiphany and started researching what it would take to become a chef. He used the military tuition assistance program to get Degrees in Business Management and Culinary Arts.

Jeff interned at Aux Delices, a French restaurant in San Diego. It was a 12-week non-paid internship for school units. After he completed his internship, he volunteered to stay and cook until he was deployed to Kuwait. He retired from the Marine Corps on a Wednesday and was a full-time chef on Friday.

Jeff was appointed Executive Sous Chef her at Thornton Winery in April of 2013 and quickly became our Executive Chef. He brings a variety of influences to his menu for Café Champagne. He cites the many kitchens he’s worked in as major sources of inspiration: Lazy H. in Pauma Valley, Bailey’s, South Coast Winery, and California Center for the Arts, Stone World Bistro and Gardens, Bear Creek Golf Club and Raviolis Restaurants.

While Chef Jeff Massey describes his style as “Simple” it is by no means simplistic. Every component of every dish is given the same amount of attention and care. Jeff and his staff put the same care into making a burger as everything else. This attention to detail is truly what distinguishes Café Champagne from the other restaurants.