Month: October 2018

Chef Jason Neroni: Rose Cafe – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Rose Cafe Chef Jason Neroni for OC Chef's Table 2019When did you first decide you wanted to cook?
Chef Jason Neroni:
I wanted to be a ride operator at Disneyland® and, instead, they steered me to the Blue Bayou where I peeled fruit and made Monte Cristo sandwiches.

Once I graduated high school, I started pursuing an art degree. One day, I wandered up to the Club 33 kitchen – also a Disneyland® property – and they were preparing this elegant, beautifully plated food. Suddenly, it all clicked into place – I had the ability to do art on a plate … I could actually express myself as an artist as a chef. I started working at Club 33, and I’ve never looked back.

You’re one of our only guest chefs from an LA-based restaurant. Why did you choose Venice as your “home” base?
I grew up in Orange County but I loved coming up to Venice in my teens because it just seemed more “real” to me. Now, you have Google and Snapchat here … it’s an influence of constantly evolving change. It just feels like the right “palette” for me.

You’ve cooked in Europe and Manhattan and SoCal. What would you say is the biggest difference in the three worlds?
It’s all about the kitchen environment. European chefs begin apprenticing at the age of 10 or 12. In Europe, being a chef is a lifestyle and you cook your entire life. Here in the States, it’s more about cooking for a job. When I returned from Europe, I approached the management of my kitchen a whole different way – now, my kitchen is filled with longtime chefs and staff. It’s a huge difference.

You had some great successes in Manhattan. How is your food different now in Venice at Rose Café?
I’ve been cooking 24 years now, so Rose is a culmination of what I’ve done (so far) in my career. You’ll see anything from chorizo spiked eggs and breakfast pizza to more refined menu items. I like painting a very big picture!

This is your first OC Chef’s Table. What made the decision for you?
Things are a little scary for a lot of people right now. I see homeless people struggling in my own neighborhood; I see it everywhere. These people feel forgotten about … society has discarded them. That’s not cool. I’ve got kids now and I don’t want them to learn that this is how we treat people. Everyone needs help at some point in their lives – it’s just the magnitude of the help they need that varies. Why wouldn’t all of us want to help?

The top chefs in Orange County (along with a few surprise visiting chefs) are getting together again for the renowned OC Chef’s Table at Disneyland® Resort on March 3, 2019.
In it 6th year, OC Chef’s Table continues to help Illumination Foundation raise funds to provide permanent housing and services for homeless adults and children. With OC’s most imaginative chefs creating one-of-a-kind magical menus, it’s no wonder OC Chef’s Table is one of the most coveted gala tickets of the year.
See all 40+ chefs participating and secure your ticket at OCChefsTable.com. And, get to know this year’s phenomenal chefs as Diane Armitage sits down with each, asking 5 questions in just 5 minutes … 



Illumination Foundation Announces Top-Ranked Chef Lineup for OC Chef’s Table 2019

Oct 23, 2018 – Illumination Foundation, the non-profit organization committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness, has announced its 6th Annual roster of top-ranked chefs for its March 3, 2019 event at Disneyland® Resort.

New Website – OCChefstable.com
Illumination Foundation has also released a new website devoted entirely to OC Chef’s Table at OCChefsTable.com, which provides the entire roster of chefs along with individual chef videos, a growing blog that features fun and interesting backstories on the chefs and their “secret menu” plans, as well as all sponsorship and ticketing opportunities to attend the event.

Raising Millions
OC Chef’s Table was created six years ago, inviting hundreds of attendees to tables manned individually by the area’s highest-ranked chefs. Proceeds from the evening’s event are funneled to an umbrella of vital programs initiated by Illumination Foundation to permanently break the cycle of homelessness.

OC Chefs Table -209Earlier this year in March 2018, the OC Chef’ Table event raised an unprecedented $1 million, the funds primarily earmarked for building the country’s first recuperative care center in partnership with CHOC. To date, Illumination Foundation leads the nation in providing recuperative care centers for adults – see IFRecuperativeCare.com. Now, this first-ever recuperative care for children and teens will provide a safe and secure place for homeless children who have been discharged from emergency rooms or recovering from surgery or hospitalization.

The March 2019 Chef’s Table event will also be devoted to more funding for this center’s completion.

2019 Participating Chefs

The OC Chef’s Table event has proven so popular that it continues to expand, this year culling more than 40 phenomenal chefs and reserving the largest ballroom Disneyland® Resort offers at its magnificent Disneyland® Hotel.

Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose at the Disneyland® Resort is, once again, graciously hosting the event. His peers include many returning chefs, including Celebrity Chef Jet Tila from The Food Network, Chef Rich Mead from Newport Beach’s Farmhouse, Chefs Magellan Moore and Stephan LaFountain from Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, and this year’s Golden Foodie Restaurant of the Year winner Villa Roma with Chef Leo Razo.

New chefs joining these acclaimed ranks include Bourbon Steak’s Chef Bryan Brown, Capital Grille’s Chef Chris Hutten, Chef Greg Daniels from his new restaurant, the ballyhooed “Harley” arriving in Laguna Beach, and special guest Chef Jason Neroni from Venice’s uber-popular Rose Café.

An Evening Like No Other
When the top-ranked chefs in Orange County come together for the annual Illumination Foundation OC Chef’s Table at Disneyland® Hotel, you’re going to discover all sorts of magic afoot.

For starters, these talented chefs are typically creating an entirely original menu with course after course of their own favorites, culled from years of culinary innovation.

There’s something, too, about all these great chefs enjoying the rare opportunity to rub shoulders with one another and share new ideas. Far from a competition, OC Chef’s Table is an evening of light-hearted fun, a reunion of sorts between chefs who have cheered on each other’s rise to the top.

And, of course, there’s a magic in the cause itself, uniting extraordinary chefs with extraordinary hearts in a partnered decision to end the pain and separation of homelessness.

Blind Rabbit Takes Golden Foodie Awards

By Phil Metzger  •  Oct 1, 2018  •  Orange Coast Magazine

The Blind Rabbit, a speakeasy in Anaheim’s Packing House, was a big winner Sunday at the annual Golden Foodie Awards in Newport Beach, taking home awards for bartender of the year, best cocktails, and best bar program. Blind Rabbit also features prominently in the current issue of Orange Coast, including a photo on the cover.

Ross Pangilnan, owner of the 2017 Best New Restaurant award, was named 2018 rising star chef of the year. He also just opened a new restaurant, Terrace by Mix Mix, at South Coast Plaza.

At Arc Food & Libations in Costa Mesa, Noah von Blom was named chef of the year.

Olea in Newport Beach,was named best new restaurant.

Pastry chef Jamon Harper at Aveo at Monarch Beach Resort was named pastry chef of the year. Harper recently revealed a new dessert menu at Aveo that includes a decadent off-menu sundae that’s a foot tall and features house-made gelato, fresh berries and candied almonds.

The Best Brunch award went to Taps Fish House & Brewery.