Bringing Some Green to the City of Roses

Organic restaurant Green Zone is set to open Saturday, August 22nd in Pasadena.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | 7:54 pm

“This is a great city. I think people are more savvy about eating organic and having a healthier lifestyle,” starts Jil Cam, owner and head chef of Green Zone. With their first location in San Gabriel attracting customers from all over the valley, Cam started to eye locations that could accommodate more of her loyal fans.

Lucky for you, readers, Cam decided upon the City of Roses as the new home of her second restaurant.

As we mentioned before, Green Zone offers organic cuisine of various categories. From salads to noodles to her most popular Hainan Chicken, the entire menu is comprised of dishes that are made from scratch.

Believe it or not, Cam didn’t even start out in the restaurant industry—which might explain why her recipes are all made the long way, like you might find in a home kitchen.

Jill Cam started out in the fashion industry, running her own store by the age of 21. As she traveled for her business she often found herself dining out at some of the best restaurants in the world. As she refined her palate, her curiosity for cooking grew. A favorite pastime of hers was to flash a smile to the chef and ask for recipes of her favorite dishes. Over the years, she gathered and practiced these recipes from across the globe in her own kitchen.

Cam says that when she does something, she does it all or nothing. So when she got pregnant with the first of her two kids she decided to be a stay at home mom. Cooking became a major focus for her, both for health reasons and as a bonding activity with her younger daughter.

As her children grew, her focus widened to her local surroundings. She realized San Gabriel was filled with restaurants that heavily relied on MSG and didn’t insist on making dishes the right way. So, despite her family’s trepidations, Cam, her husband, and her children opened Green Zone in San Gabriel.

“Those first two years were a learning curve for me because cooking for your family and friends is very different from cooking for the public.”

Cam’s Chinese background and childhood in Vietnam coupled with her years of cooking for her family in California created a varied menu that accommodates most dietary restrictions, including various types of vegetarians.

“I still want things made to order made fresh. That’s how we lasted for the past nine years.”

It seems longevity runs in her family—soon, she will be celebrating another important milestone: “My father is going to be 100 years old [this year]. He was born in 1915.”

Maybe that’s why she wants her menu to not only be accessible to diets, but also all generations.

Opening this Saturday, August 22nd the newly designed restaurant will feature a relaxing, natural feeling atmosphere. Unlike their San Gabriel location, Pasadena’s restaurant will also feature beer and wine. There’s even a bar in the back, if you just feel like picking up an organic beer.

“I… want to be somewhere… for the Pasadena community to [bring] their kids to. I want to see my customers more than once or twice a week,” confesses Cam.

Be careful when you try Green Zone for the first time, because Cam is out to accomplish her goals—you might just become a regular, yourself.

Green Zone will be located at 34 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (626) 535-9700 or visit www.greenzonerestaurant.com. You can follow Green Zone on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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