Jonathan Burrows began his professional career as an assistant stage director at the New York City Opera in 1966 with Placido Domingo in CARMEN and MADAMA BUTTERFLY, Beverly Sills in THE TALES OF HOFFMAN & many more. Two years later he was producing theatre in New York, presenting three off-Broadway plays (Athol Fugard’s HELLO & GOODBYE directed by George C. Scott, starring Martin Sheen & Coleen Dewhurst, CONTRIBUTIONS starring Claudia McNeil, the national tour of THE MAD SHOW) and FIRE on Broadway (1969), prior to turning his attention to the film industry. He started as an assistant director for David Lean on RYAN’S DAUGHTER (MGM, 1970), then to the Business Affairs Dept at Columbia Pictures, and subsequently as a Production Executive and in other capacities on seventeen more major films (including A DELICATE BALANCE (Katharine Hepburn), THE ICEMAN COMETH (Lee Marvin, Jeff Bridges), RHINOCEROS (Zero Mostel), THE HOMECOMING (Ian Holm), THE MAN IN THE GLASS BOOTH (Maximilian Schell), with producer credits on TEXASVILLE (Columbia, 1990) and FLETCH (Universal, 1984).
In the late ‘90’s things changed. Jonathan discovered that while he was getting older, movie executives were getting younger and it was increasingly difficult getting a film deal done. So he turned to something he’d always loved – cooking. For years friends had been saying “these are the best ribs I’ve ever had – you should open a restaurant” and, encouraged by his wife Annie after researching (i.e. eating!) bbq wherever they found themselves in the U.S., Jonathan opened Mr. Cecil’s California Ribs (www.mrcecilscaribs.com) in West Los Angeles. His partners: attorney Ken Burrows & Erica Jong, his brother & sister-in-law, TV producer/director Jim Burrows, his cousin, and Larry Jackson, a film industry executive. This was in July 2000.
Jonathan believes he has invented a uniquely California style of cooking. He takes western American barbeque, adds a slight Asian influence and then infuses it with the highest quality ingredients (organic beef and chicken, vegetables, etc) along with a menu that includes several kinds of fish (wild, fresh salmon, catfish), many salads, all of which add up to what Valley Magazine called “180 degrees from ordinary barbeque – California-style of course”.
Three months after opening, the L.A. Times called his food “plates of meat to dream about” and due to the overwhelming response Mr. Cecil’s ran out of food and had to close for two days. Subsequently Bon Appétit Magazine included Jonathan (among 20 in the entire country) in its “Who’s Who In American Barbeque” issue and Sunset Magazine placed Mr. Cecil’s on its “Ten Best of the West” list. Jonathan has appeared extensively on national television, has taught and lectured at numerous cooking schools in southern California, has exhibited at many bbq events throughout the country including NYC’s Big Apple BBQ Block Party and has twice been invited to New York City to cook for the prestigious James Beard Foundation, most recently in September, 2006.
The second Mr. Cecil’s opened in January 2003 in Sherman Oaks, California and number 3 opened in Manhattan Beach, California in September 2009.
He now divides his schedule between Los Angeles and New York City, where he is also active in the family real estate business. Among his leisure time pursuits are golf and polo, which he plays not only at the Santa Barbara Polo Club but internationally as well. He is also an instrument rated multi-engine private pilot and flies several hours a week. He and Annie are collectors of modern and contemporary art and are the parents of nineteen year old Zane Lowell Burrows and Lili Grace Burrows, who is fifteen.
Jonathan is currently preparing a Broadway production of Cole Porter’s 1953 musical “CAN-CAN” for the New York winter season 2016-2017. He discovered this new production of “CAN-CAN” at the Pasadena Playhouse several years ago and presented a showcase version of it in NYC in July 2013 starring Megan Hilty. In October 2014 it played for four weeks as a pre-Broadway tryout at Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn N.J., a NY regional theatre and it’s now waiting for a Broadway theater to become available.