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Month: January 2020

Chef Steven Anderson: California Fresh – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

What made you get into the catering business instead of operating a restaurant?
Chef Steven Anderson:
I enjoy working in restaurant kitchens, but I love pulling inspiration from a lot of different culinary styles. I oversee both catering and a large-scale university operation, and it’s never a dull moment.

You can probably blame my upbringing for the large-scale preference. My grandmother was a great home cook – she could whip up anything. And, I spent a lot of time in my own high school cafeteria kitchen helping my Aunt, who introduced a lot of unique menu items into the daily lunches.

I like surprising people with a real experience, too. Last year, we did a gastronomy-based menu for Andrea Bocelli. I don’t want to just go for the design in the plating or the flavor profile – I want to make it a show for the guest, too. It’s all about giving the guest an exciting experience that’s different, something they not only enjoy in taste but haven’t seen before.

What did you prepare for Mr. Bocelli?
It was an 11:00 p.m. dinner after his concert, but he’s just getting off work, so we balanced to balance a hearty entrée – herb-crusted hanger steak with a Cabernet Demi-glace – with lighter sides.

What’s your latest favorite to cook?
Sous Vide Pork Belly. It’s like a chemistry experiment.

What are you changing up this year at OC Chef’s Table?
Last year was our first year, and we were in the foyer for the reception, so, we got to see the “main event” as observers. We figured we’d just poke our heads, but we didn’t want to leave. The energy in that room with all the chefs working together was something really cool to see.

OC Chef’s Table is one of those rare events where you’re not just serving guests who eat, listen to a couple presentations, and go their way. This is a collaboration of passion between high-level chefs, the extraordinary Illumination Foundation and truly interested patrons who are all committed to getting this homelessness issue handled.

I think I was the first to sign up for the 2019 event, this time IN the room with a table of patrons. It was such a great experience that we’re back again, no question! We’re really looking forward to it.

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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 1, 2020 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 … 

Chef Joseph Tripi: Trevor’s at the Tracks – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

When did you first get interested in cooking?
My father’s side is 100% Sicilian, and my mother’s side is Russian-Polish, so I got to see a LOT of different kinds of cooking from my two grandmothers. But it wasn’t until I was 10th birthday –when I went to Benihana’s and saw those guys tossing food and knives around – that I really got interested in cooking. I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

I was still a kid when I started taking cooking classes with adults, and I got into a culinary program at my high school. I was attending the California Culinary Academy when I saw an ad from Wolfgang Puck. I decided it would be one of those chances of a lifetime so, at 21, I started working as his executive chef.

What was the first dish you ever cooked?
My Mom had a fryer, so I got into making my own donuts and buffalo wings at a pretty early age … like way earlier than most kids should probably be standing on a stool leaning over a deep fat fry machine. But I still remember learning how to cook spicy Arrabbiata marina sauce with my Sicilian grandmother. I still use that recipe today.

What’s the best memory you have from all that at-home kitchen cooking?
The day the white sauce pot got passed down to me. This particular pot had been in the family for generations and was always passed from mom to daughter to daughter. This time around, though, it didn’t go to my sister – it went to me. I was 18 and it was a moment!

Last year was your second year at OC Chef’s Table. What was your take away from the evening?
I was surprised how fast it went. We were there early and I was a little stressed about getting all my stuff set  up. Then, everybody started cooking, and we all started chatting with other chefs and our table of patrons and listening to these amazing stories from the stage, and next thing I knew … it was over. It was having such a great time, I didn’t want it to go so fast!

I’ve done some really cool events with Wolfgang, but OC Chef’s Table has been the most memorable event for me, personally. There was such a grandeur about it … not at all in a lavish spending kind of way, but in the way Illumination Foundation shows such honor and respect to these people who have somehow ended up upside down in life. And the people who attend the event are so respectful and supportive of all the work that’s being done by Illumination Foundation. It’s humbling, really, and it felt like such an honor to be a part of it all.

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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 1, 2020 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 … 

 

 

 

Chef Andrew Gruel: Slapfish – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

How old were you when you first started cooking?
Chef Andrew Gruel:
Both of my parents worked, so the microwave and Sara Lee were my best after-school buddies. I was about 10 when I realized that it could be a lot more interesting cooking with fire.

But you never intended to become a chef …
Slapfish Albacore Tuna Melt- OC Chef's TableNope. I had always cooked in restaurants for high school and college jobs, but my interest had to do with sustainability and science. It wasn’t until I was working as the director of Seafood for the Future at the Long Beach Aquarium that all the dots connected. I’d been working with chefs across the country to establish more awareness for sustainable seafood, and the opportunity to act on that education was staring me right in the face. I started with a food truck that based its entire menu on sustainable food items (mostly fish), and it just mushroomed from there.

You’ve been on a number of Food Network shows … Chopped, Food Truck Face Off, Chopped Junior … as both a participant and judge … what’s your best memory in that whole experience?
It’s so much fun; I feel like I come up with the newest great memory every day … a couple years ago, though, I was a judge with Meghan Markle before she became the Duchess. She really is an awesome person.

But I’d say the best memory was when I was judging Food Truck Face Off and we were filming it in Canada. The contestants came from all over North America, but the winning team came from Huntington Beach, about a 1-minute drive from my original Slapfish restaurant. That was pretty cool. I still check in on them.

You’re a repeat Chef at OC Chef’s Table. Why do you keep returning?
Andrew Gruel of Slapfish at OC Chef's TableI love everything about OC Chef’s Table. I love the Chef’s Breakfast beforehand where you get to meet up with your buddies again. I love hearing all the stories of redemption from the stage … it’s everything, from start to finish.

OC Chef’s Table isn’t about the actual event but getting involved and understanding and following what Illumination Foundation is doing from a closer angle. Every year, I’m amazed at how much progress they’re making to help our homeless population and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’ll do anything I can to support the great work they’re doing.

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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 1, 2020 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 … 

 

 

Chef John Park – Toast – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Q: Your first year with OC Chef’s Table in 2018, you didn’t even have a restaurant at the time …

Chef John Park: Yeah, that was a little crazy. I was prepping all of the food for the dinner out my little apartment with our two boys running around. It was kind of hysterical. I was so honored that Illumination Foundation asked me to be a part of it, even sans restaurant, that I couldn’t turn it down.

We finally got Toast open on July 24th, 2018.

Q: For a guy who never expected to be a chef, you have quite the interesting business partner.
It’s funny how things work sometimes. I never even expected to be a chef, much less have Ed Lee from Wahoo’s as my business partner. When I was 20, I had never cooked before in my life. I’d never even held a knife in my hand. Up until that time, I was a math major. I was going to be an engineer, maybe coach water polo at a high school somewhere. But certain events happened in my life and I felt called to be a chef.

I tried culinary school, but it wasn’t moving along fast enough. I dropped out so that I could get a job in the industry. That was 18 years ago. I trained as a pastry chef and then worked every station in every kitchen. I just had this sense that this path would lead to the real work I wanted to do – that is, seeking out and helping and hiring vets and homeless individuals and kids who’ve grown up in foster care.

As a restaurant, you can do so much more … you can build this whole aspect of community into your business, of breaking bread together and nourishing people and giving them hope. Owning a restaurant was my means to this end.

Q: Why make the move from L.A. to the O.C.?
I kind of asked the same question, but it was just something I felt led to do. My wife and I had three businesses in L.A. and we were doing well – but I just knew it was time to sell the businesses and move to the O.C. We didn’t have any friends or family down here, and I spent 16 months unemployed, just trying to find the right restaurant. But in that timeframe, I got to know all the issues around homelessness, especially in the nearby riverbed in Santa Ana.

So many residents here don’t know about all the issues that are rampant for thousands of people who are struggling on the streets. When we took over the old Golden Truffle space, we knew we were moving into an iconic space in the O.C. But on our first day of construction, we realized we were right in the middle of the worst part of the entire city for homelessness. And, I think that’s exactly why we landed here.

Q: When did you first learn about Illumination Foundation?
I used to see the Illumination Foundation representatives out on the trails and in the parks, working with the homeless, so I started doing my research. It didn’t take long to realize we were both working to the same end. At the restaurant, we give 10% of our profits to helping the under-served, and most of our staff is made up of vets and foster kids we’ve employed and helped get back on their feet.

We believe that, as restaurant owners and chefs, we have a day-to-day opportunity to be there for people when everyone else has turned away. Beyond feeding them and providing nourishment, we should be the leader and create a welcome environment that opens the doors to vets and homeless adults and kids.

My wife and I are committed to eradicating homelessness because no one deserves that kind of life … and Illumination Foundation is clearly the leader – in the country – that’s devoted to the very same cause.

So, our commitment is this: Anything we can do to help Illumination Foundation we’ll do.

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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 1, 2020 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 … 

Chef Peter Lai: The Blind Rabbit – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Your move from a very popular OC restaurant to the OC’s uber-popular speakeasy was recent!
Chef Peter Lai:
And I couldn’t even find the place when they asked me for an interview! I’d been coming to the Anaheim Packing House since it opened, but I didn’t even know where the fabled speakeasy was. I talked to the owners in July and loved the overall experience of this place.

The Blind Rabbit sweeps the Golden Foodies in bar and cocktail categories. Does that affect how you’re approaching your menus and food?
Absolutely. We’re changing up the menu to represent more “true” speakeasy food, and choosing items that pair well with our craft cocktail efforts. The menu is doubling in size.

What do you mean by “speakeasy” food?
1920s Prohibition Style speakeasies were more into creative finger food. You know … canapes. I like that, but I also want the menu to impart a gastropub kind of feel while still honoring this quaint space. There’s not a lot of table room for big entrées, so I’m working on authentic cuisine that works more as a shared “heavy finger food” type of presentation.

This will be your 5th year at OC Chef’s Table personally. Why do you keep returning?
I love Illumination Foundation. This coming year, I’ll have represented three different restaurants there – it’s a non-negotiable for me – I will do this event as long as they’ll have me back.

I think it really started with my Dad’s example. He did all the cooking in the family restaurants, 7 days a week, until the day he finally retired. All the cooking help he hired came direct from China. He would find these great chefs, bring them to the states, sponsor their work program, get them their green cards and be there for them as they transitioned into this amazing life in the States. And that’s really what Illumination Foundation does for so many homeless people who don’t even know where to turn … Illumination isn’t just there for a portion of the transition, they’re there for the entire transition for these people. 

What do you find the biggest surprise each year at OC Chef’s Table?
I enjoy the camaraderie with the other chefs. At the last event, I had a dish that was supposed to have freshly shaved truffles, but the truffles didn’t find their way to the event. So, I flagged down Chef Sutton and he walked me over to Clint Chin with Club 33. Clint just handed me a big ol’ handful of truffles and said, “Here you go. Take care of your guests.”

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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 1, 2020.
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 … 

 

 

Chef Ben LeFleche: Waterfront Beach Resort – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Q – This is your third year at OC Chef’s Table, yes?
Chef BenLeFleche: Yes, 2018 was our first year. We had been wanting to participate for awhile, but since we were undergoing heavy construction for three years, 2018 was the first year we felt we could really pull it off. It was awesome! The scope of what Illumination Foundation puts together is simply incredible.

Q – How long have you been at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort?
Seventeen very fast moving years.

Q – So, all this construction dust … was it worth it?
Absolutely! Before the expansion we were stuck with just one restaurant space, so it had to cater to a mixed crowd of tastes and ages. Now we have three restaurants – the Boardwalk for three meals a day, the Off Shore Nine Rooftop Lounge on the upper deck, and finer dining at Henry’s Ocean View Dining, which we opened right after last year’s OC Chef’s Table event.

Q – Is Henry’s your baby?
You might say that. I oversee all of the food and beverage here, but Henry’s is a dream we finally made a reality. I’ve always wanted to do something more upscale and creative and, fortunately, our management lets us do what we know.

Henry’s is an all-scratch kitchen serving just breakfast and dinner. I don’t know if many chefs do this in an entire menu, from butter to jams, jellies, in-house cured bacon, sausage … everything that touches the plate will be scratch.

We’ve spent the last few years developing relationships with small purveyors and farmers who don’t normally do commercial work because they’re just too small and specific. So, for instance, we’re working with a lamb farmer at a ranch up north who can pretty much tell you which blade of grass the lamb eats on any given day. Another farmer we work with raises Campeche Tarpon. We’re also bringing in high-quality meats like Wagyu.

Henry’s is about people who care about their food … on both sides of the table. We do simple dishes that really showcase the flavors.

Q – Give me an idea or two of menu items you feature.
Well, I love our braised octopus dish with pomegranate jelly and black salt. It was a winter-oriented dish, so I had to wait a few minutes to spotlight it. It was worth the wait.

Q – Why the Henry’s name?
The restaurant is named after Henry Huntington who created his own railroad and trolley system out this way. It all started as a friendly competition with his uncle, who owned Southern Pacific. He purchased a defunct hotel here in Huntington Beach in 1911 and renamed it the Huntington Hotel – it was a big success. He created quite a legacy.

Will any of your Henry’s menus be on OC Chef’s Table menu?
Oh yes! The menu is already written as a compilation of dishes from all three of our new restaurants. The Offshore Nine is usually where people start their meal while watching the sunset, so that’s the opening course. And … we go from there!

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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 1, 2020 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 … 

 

 

Chef Riley Huddleston – Lido House – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Q – When did you first figure out you liked cooking? 
Chef Riley Huddleston: When I was about 13 or 14 I figured out that instead of spending MY hard-earned money for gifts for my Mom on various occasions, I could offer to cook for her and use HER hard-earned money to go grocery shopping. I would cook dinner, convinced I was outsmarting her. But it got to be pretty interesting to me pretty quickly – we would eat dinner out somewhere and I’d go home and replicate it. I loved the challenge.

Q – When did you decide to make a business out of it?
It took awhile. After high school, I thought I’d be a professional beach bum but my Dad wasn’t keen on the idea. He offered to pay for college there, and I did two semesters in oceanography before moving to a smaller island in the Caribbean. At this point, I was much more interested in cooking, so I decided to go to culinary school there at the New England Culinary Institute. I sold it to my Mom first, and then tried it on my Dad – he grudgingly agreed to it, but I was on my own this time on the expense side. He just didn’t see how I could make a decent living out of it.

At 18, I decided to open my first restaurant in Boise – the Boise Fry Company. I grew it to six locations and sold it last year. My Dad was so pleased I had finally found a way to the business side!

Q – Did you move here from Boise?
No, after I got the Fry Company up and running, I began creating concepts everywhere. I ended up in Chicago and worked on concepts at The Godfrey Hotel and London House. I ended up here about three years ago, initially working on the Hive & Honey Rooftop Bar and Heirloom concepts. Then, we started working on the Lido House and I got involved as the Executive Chef Partner.

Q – When did the Lido House actually open?
April 18, 2018. Although we are hopping with tourists in the summer season, this is really a hotel that’s made for locals. We’re a 130-room hotel but our Mayor’s Table alone seats 142, and we’ve got our Top Side bar a well as our Crew Coffee & Creamery … so we’re all about being a local offering to our Newport Beach audience. Our pricing isn’t like typical hotel pricing and the menus are entirely different.

Q – So, give me an idea of what Mayor’s Table has going on.
Well, we primarily focus on seafood and vegetables, but our bar menu has items like lobster rolls and spicy tuna, while our breakfast menu offers items like the Dungeness Crab Benedict that’s piled with fresh crab and served with a lemon beurre blanc sauce.

One of my favorite items on our lunch menu is roasted chicken, but it’s first marinated in fenugreek, citrus and spices. We plate it with a nice, light Thai curry and charred vegetables – sunchokes that we toss with parsnip and Romanesco – and then place the roasted chicken on that. It’s a very warm dish that’s light and clean.

Dinner is more elevated. One of my favorites lately is our Turbot – it’s gently poached and served with beurre blanc with crab, caviar and crispy potatoes piled on top.

Q – Given that you could have ended up just about anywhere, why choose Newport Beach?
I think the O.C. is right on the brink of true food greatness. As a rule, SoCal has never been recognized as a food mecca like Chicago or San Francisco. There are a number of chefs in L.A. that are stepping into that space – for the first time ever, really – and there are a number of great chefs here in the O.C. that are taking it to the next level, too. I like being a part of that movement. I like employing modernist techniques, like shattering berries with nitrogen and smoking salmon tartar tableside. The Orange County audience is ready for that fun and innovation, and this is right where I want to be.

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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 1, 2020 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 … 

 

Chef Jeff Moore: EATS Kitchen – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

How did you get started in the restaurant biz?
Chef Jeff Moore:
In a round-about way, really. Generations of my family had owned a grocery store business in Palos Verdes, so I grew up in that environment – you know, bakery, butcher shop, everything done in house. I didn’t start in the restaurant business, though, until I was in college at the University of Hawaii and my Mom “encouraged” me to get a job. I started as a dishwasher and, by the time I’d moved up to line cook, I had decided the restaurant business was pretty cool.

After college, I made a blind move to Utah to ski for a season and started working for a great chef, Carl Kelley, there. At that point, I realized I could do something else that wasn’t nearly as interesting … OR I could do this cooking thing for real. I chose real. I stayed there, working in that hotel, for 10 years.

How did a ski bum end up in Orange County?
Chef Jeff Moore - skiing- OC Chef's TableSki bum, indeed! I used to push 200 day of skiing a year. Now I’m lucky if I get 10 or 15 days in, but the trade-off is worth it. I love being around all the great culinary here, and EATS is my paradise now. I love every day I’m in my restaurant.

What’s your favorite all-time dish you learned from a chef in your past?
Philly Cheesesteak! Chuck, the owner of the tiny restaurant in Hawaii had the serious goods on a sandwich I’d never even heard about. He showed me exactly how to cook it – it’s a science, you know! Even to this day he still serves the same sandwich.

How did you get involved in Chef’s Table?
It really started when I was living in Santa Ana and riding my bike up and down the river to work. Seeing the homeless problem firsthand and getting to know the faces of some of the hundreds of individuals out there … it was a real shock. When you think of Orange County, you think of all the opulence and beauty and you just don’t expect to see people … families and kids included … in this terrible state.

At about that time, I started hearing about Illumination Foundation and even saw many of their volunteers out at the river bed.  A couple years ago, when I found out they did the OC Chef’s Table, I reached out to them and asked to be a part of it. To find an outlet for my talent to try to help in this way … it’s just a great opportunity.

Our upcoming OC Chef’s Table event in March will be my fourth year, and I’ve already started planning my menu. This is serious business! But, it’s so much fun and so worth it. I’ll return every year they’ll have me back.

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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 1, 2020.
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 … 

Chef Leo Razo: Villa Roma & Cambalache – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

You could say you learned how to cook the “trial by fire” way, yes?
Chef Leo Razo:
Before I came to the U.S., I was in the Mexican Army and I got thrown into the kitchen, cooking for 3,000 people every day. I definitely learned how to handle a rush on the kitchen, yes!

When I came to the U.S., though, I started as a dishwasher. I still wanted to be a cook, so I started taking cooking classes, and moved my way up into the kitchen line eventually. I then traveled through Italy and other countries, always working in the kitchens so that I could learn. I fell in love with Italian cuisine, and that was the driving force behind opening Villa Roma in Laguna Hills.

What is the primary difference in cuisine between Villa Roma and your new restaurant, Cambalache?

Photo credit: OC Comestibles

When I was traveling, I always liked the outdoor grilling and foods from Argentinians. At Villa Roma, I’ve always featured a few Argentinian dishes, but Cambalache is more Argentinian with a little bit of Italian. In the 1920s, many Italians moved into Argentina, so the two cuisines are very compatible, like brothers who get along.

You’ve been helping homeless individuals even before getting involved with OC Chef’s Table …
A few years ago, I hired a gentleman – Justino Hernandez – and at the time we didn’t know he was homeless. He didn’t have a car, so I would drive him “home” – he would tell me to drop him at the sidewalk in front of his apartment complex, and it wasn’t until much later that we realized he was sleeping in the bushes behind the complex.

When he started missing work, I figured out what was going on and decided we had to help him. He was an alcoholic and so skinny … but he had such a beautiful smile. I told my wife that he had something special. So, we sponsored his rehabilitation and I started to show him how to cook.

He had such a talent and he was so eager to learn that he’s now my Sous Chef. Now he’s married and he will be a new daddy before the end of the year. His whole life has changed. He’s been with me four years now, and we have another gentleman – Daniel Gomez – we’ve helped, too, who’s been with us three years. They’ll both be with me this March at the OC Chef’s Table.

This will be your fourth year with OC Chef’s Table. Why do you keep returning?
We’ve always liked doing things in the community, so when we discovered Illumination Foundation a few years ago and saw the work they were doing, it was a natural fit. And, I’ve always believed that when chefs get together, they can create a world of good, so OC Chef’s Table was an easy decision. I know most of the chefs who attend, and it’s like a giant reunion for us. Last year, I even ran into Jorge Sotelo a pastry  chef with Disneyland® who was from my own hometown in Mexico. We both looked at each other and said, “What are you doing here?!”

Ultimately, though, I love all the magic of the night … all the miracle stories that seem like miracles but are really just the people at Illumination Foundation keeping their commitment to help our fellow human beings. It’s a great reminder to me to keep doing my part. We’re the ones who can make a difference … it’s not someone else’s job out there, it’s our job. And when you see these changed lives, it’s all worth it.

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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 1, 2020.
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 … 

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