My Plate & Place with… Chef Jose Jara

Chef Jose Jara

With over 14 years of working in fine dining establishments, Jose Jara’s career has spanned institutions across the globe, from Spain and London to further afield in Hong Kong. After completing his training at the Seville Culinary Institute, Jose fostered his passion for cooking in roles across Spain – including Palacete la Seda (Murcia) and Tragabuches (Ronda).

In 2014, he joined the Aqua restaurant group in London, before a short-term move to Hong Kong to be Executive Chef at Aqua Zafran. Next came roles at The Peninsula by Intercontinental London and the prestigious Eneko at One Aldwych Hotel, where he worked as Head Chef under the world-renowned Eneko Atxa of the three Michelin-starred Azurmendi, Bilbao.

In February 2023, Jose became Head Chef at JOIA – combining his extensive culinary expertise and Spanish heritage to oversee the launch of the new destination dining space. Together with JOIA’s Portuguese Executive Chef, Henrique Sá Pessoa, Jose produces a vibrant Iberian menu, which is influenced by the robust flavours and techniques of Catalonia and Portugal.

We wanted to find out Chef Jose’s favourite things about London…


By Rebecca Hope

Describe your perfect day in London?

My perfect day would be a Sunday, when I go for a leisurely walk with my family through Epping Forest and finish up with a nice roast in one of the local pubs.

Favourite restaurant?

Papi’s Munchies. We first visited in 2021 and since then it’s been my favourite pizza in London. We normally go at least once or twice a month, and it’s perfect for catching up with friends as it’s also in a pub called The North Star. The team is lovely, and the sourdough pizza is the best I have tried. I should mention that I can’t order any pizza other than their blue, mush and ham (with stilton and garlic mushrooms) – it’s just brilliant.

Best place for brunch?

I like The Breakfast Club. It’s casual, always has a very nice atmosphere and the food is great.

What was the last museum or gallery you visited?

Tate Modern – a classic.


By Rebecca Hope

Where are the best places to shop?

I’d say the typical hotspots, so either Oxford Street or Westfields are both solid options.

Preferred bar or pub for a great night out?

Luna in Leytonstone.

Most relaxing place to unwind?

Epping Forest.

If you had only one day in London, where would you visit?

Once again, a walk in Epping Forest, followed by a visit to the Natural History Museum and then ending the day with an evening in Soho.

What is your top London tip?

Make sure to explore London Fields. There’s plenty to do and see, plus some excellent restaurants.

Tell us what you are currently up to at JOIA?

We’re currently working on a Spring menu and have also launched two exciting lunch offerings for Friday and Sunday visitors.

Check out JOIA and to find out more details on their latest menus and offers.

Photo of Jose Jara, Head Chef by Nick Andrews

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