You’re returning for your third year at OC Chef’s Table. What was your impression your very FIRST year?
Chef Magellan Moore: It was amazing! Illumination Foundation did such a great job at connecting their chefs to the cause and showing everyone where their support is truly changing up people’s lives. It was mind blowing.
For me personally, it was also amazing to meet so many great chefs in this area – chefs I’ve heard about and read about. We have had a number of chefs come in to Mastro’s for dinner, but this was an entirely different environment of camaraderie. It was a phenomenal event at every level.
What got you into cooking?
My Grandmother. From about age 8, I’d live with her every summer, and garden and cook throughout the summer. We’d do all the major holidays as well. My first real job in her kitchen was baking the cakes for Sunday dinner. It instilled in me a crazy passion to cook food for people and bring people together in a happy place.
My Dad could see I was heading in a culinary direction, so he helped me get a job at an Italian restaurant there in Columbus when I was in high school. The chef took me under his wing for the next five years … occasionally screaming at me in a kitchen corner when my timing between dishes wasn’t quite right … and I’ve never left the kitchen since.
What’s the best food item you’ve ever eaten?
I’d have to say that’s a “best food day.” My Grandmother was from a small town in Georgia where we would have our family reunions. She would be with her sisters in the kitchen preparing this crazy Southern feast. I would see peeks of those menu items in our Sunday dinners, but never all smashed together in one event.
I still remember one particular dinner; every bite was better than the next. Here we were in this smoldering, hot town of Cordele with our tables on red clay dirt. It was a very uncomfortable place to be. But at sunset when dinner started, it was paradise. Everything was perfect.
How did you land in the OC?
My wife grew up in Orange County (she had been one of my bartenders at my restaurant in Columbus) and, about five years ago we were expecting our first baby. We moved to be closer to her family. I was able to start at Mastro’s in Costa Mesa as the Sous Chef, and then transferred as the Executive Chef to Mastro’s Ocean Club.
What makes your Mastro’s unique from others?
At the Ocean Club, we have a larger percentage of fish and seafood dishes but, overall, the Mastro’s menu are beautifully and similarly structured so that guests can enjoy a familiar experience in any Mastro’s they choose. It’s the kitchen’s personality that will be entirely different from restaurant to restaurant. When you walk into each chef’s kitchen, you’re going to see a lot of different things in the set-up and running of a kitchen. It’s really about the chef’s energy, but it’s that energy that still infuses the food.
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 …