As Executive Chef and Partner at Area Four, Jeff Pond brings bold, distinct flavors to Boston and Cambridge. Though his menus are accented by small plates meant to be shared family style, Jeff’s preferred vessel for highlighting his ingredients is pizza fresh from the restaurants’ custom-built, wood-fired ovens. Marked by the thin crust of a Neapolitan pie and the cooked sauce of New Haven, Jeff uses a 14-year old starter, housemade cheese, creative sauces and a carefully executed cooking method – 4.5 minutes at 600-620 degrees in Cambridge – to create the unique style of the “A4 Pizza” that anchors the menu at Area Four.
Before moving to Boston in 2000, Jeff Pond would have been an unlikely candidate for any position in a restaurant kitchen, especially that of Executive Chef and Partner – at least on paper. While working at a local pub in Connecticut, Jeff earned a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University. It was during this initial stint in the restaurant industry as a waiter, bartender, dishwasher and prep cook that Jeff decided that upon graduation he would be seeking a position in the culinary, not counseling, world.
After a year-long certification program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Jeff joined the kitchen at Barbara Lynch’s No. 9 Park, where he worked entremetier, preparing all of the hot appetizers for the restaurant. For the next several years, Jeff traveled the world as a private chef and then worked as Chef de Cuisine at Tomasso Trattoria in Southborough, MA.
In the fall of 2008, Jeff joined restaurateur Michael Krupp and Chef Michael Leviton to open Persephone/The Achilles Project, the first mixed-used retail and restaurant concept in Boston. The restaurant received praise from critics in The New York Times, GQ and The Boston Globe for its unique concept and creative menu before closing amidst a struggling economy in an emerging neighborhood that had not quite found its footing. Chef Leviton returned to Lumiere, his restaurant in Newton, and Jeff joined him as Chef de Cuisine before opening Area Four.
As Jeff passes his decade mark on the Boston restaurant scene, he’s noticed a shift in his preferred style of cooking. While he once was intrigued by the delicate and complex world of fine dining at No. 9 Park, Jeff is now drawn to a simpler approach. Jeff believes the best dining experiences are those that are the most relaxed – casual, high-quality ingredients presented in a true, simple way. Since opening Area Four Cambridge in 2011, Jeff has traveled the country, taste-testing regional varieties of pizzas to pull inspiration for his own perfect pie. With Area Four, Jeff brings the artisanal pizza experience to the forefront, showcasing his expertly honed pie-making skills, beloved sourdough starter (he’s been using it in various kitchens for more than a decade) and commitment to delivering creative, bold flavors.
Despite their success and loyal following, Jeff and his team are always scouting for new locations – launching a mobile pizza oven in late 2015, building-out a location in Boston’s South End, which opened in the fall of 2016, and developing a bar and arcade concept in Cambridge, slated to open later this year.
Though he hasn’t tried to make a habit of it, Jeff’s two children were born around the opening of his first two restaurants – his son was born two months after the opening of Persephone/The Achilles Project and his daughter a mere two weeks before Area Four. Though this can make for a pretty hectic life, Jeff enjoys it all with his wife and family at home in Watertown, MA.