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Chris 'CJ' Jacobson to headline in Yuma

See two-time 'Top Chef" contestant at Lettuce Days March 1-2

Chef Chris "CJ" Jacobson 

YUMA, ARIZONA -- Chef Chris "CJ" Jacobson, executive chef at Girasol restaurant in Studio City, Calif. will be the headline chef for the next Yuma Lettuce Days, set for March 1-2 at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park on the banks of the Colorado River. An annual culinary celebration of Yuma's role as the nation's winter vegetable capital, Lettuce Days earned a Governor's Tourism Award as Arizona's outstanding special event in 2011.

Jacobson, a two-time "Top Chef" contestant, played professional volleyball and traveled the world before becoming a chef.  His menu at Girasol is a celebration of seasonal ingredients.

That makes him a great match for Yuma, which during the winter supplies more than 90 percent of the nation's leafy vegetables.  In fact, Yuma County is third in the nation for vegetable production.

"We're excited to bring CJ to Yuma and to see what he will be inspired to create from our amazing agricultural bounty," said Linda Jordan, executive director of Yuma Visitors Bureau, which organizes Lettuce Days.  "From his Top Chef appearances, we know he is inventive and brings a lot of energy to his cooking, and we're sure he'll be a crowd pleaser."

Jacobson is a graduate of Pepperdine University and the California School of Culinary Arts - Le Cordon Bleu. He's worked behind the stoves at Axe, Campanile, Mercantile and restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and has also cooked as a private chef for Arianna Huffington and others.  He opened Girasol in July 2013.

At Lettuce Days, Jacobson will do two live cooking demonstrations each day - with some lucky audience members getting a chance to taste what he whips up on stage.

Other activities planned for Yuma's homegrown celebration include other live cooking demonstrations and contests, red-hot ice carvers, a ginormous salad bar and a tasting event showcasing specialties from local restaurants.  There will also be plenty of ag-related and food vendors, live entertainment, a beer garden, tractors and other farm equipment, a Kids Ag-tivities area and "windshield" bus tours narrated by local growers.

New features planned for 2014 include a bar where you can mix up a custom salsa or pico de gallo, and a "vegetable chef" who'll provide recipe suggestions.

Put Arizona's freshest destination food event on your calendar now!  As sure as Yuma sunshine, there will be full menu of fun for all ... straight from the field to the fork!  Get the recipe and check for new ingredients at




The Yuma Visitors Bureau is always happy to assist members of print, digital and broadcast media, either on assignment or pitching an idea with a Yuma angle.

Visit Yuma team can suggest itineraries and facilitate visits, or provide you with the inspired details to help nail down an assignment.  We pride ourselves on always going "above and beyond."

You can download background and "anytime" materials below; dated press releases appear "most recent first" at left. Call or email us for photos and B-roll video.

YVB periodically hosts group and individual press trips, and is glad to partner with other Arizona or California DMOs to coordinate a visit to several regions.

For more information, contact Linda Morgan at 928-376-0100 (office), email Thanks for your interest in the Yuma area.

'Anytime' releases:

Around & about - a quick Yuma overview

Brilliant! Yuma wears 'sunniest' label with pride

Last link in river restoration under way


Background info:

Fast Facts About YVB

 Fast Facts About Yuma 

Yuma history - narrative

Yuma historic timeline


Research and statistics

Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018

Yuma Winter Visitors Study 2017-2018 Executive Summary

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