Tag: Disneyland Resort

Celebrity Chef Jet Tila: 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Celebrity Chef Jet Tila for OC Chefs TableWhen did you first decide you wanted to cook?
Chef Jet Tila:
My grandparents had restaurants in China and Thailand, so when my parents started their own Thai restaurant, I was just third generation along for the ride! I didn’t know there was anything else in the world to do. I started washing dishes in the restaurant when I was about 10, and was a prep cook after school in my teens.

What’s the latest fun thing you’re working on for Food Network?
I’m the Floor Reporter for Iron Chef America and I’m so stoked. Basically, I’m moving … moving very calmly, I might add … around the floor, asking quick questions of the contestants as they’re frantically trying to cook. I’ve got to think fast on my feet because these people are cooking anything and everything. Alton Brown is co-hosting with me, and I’ll run the first 20-minute tasting event. It’s a challenge!

I’m still judging on other shows, too – Guy’s Grocery Game, Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay …all really completely different shows, so I’m learning something new every single day … I can’t even believe the kind of food I see – it’s amazing. I love it.

This is your third year returning to OC Chef’s Table. Why the return?
I’ve been involved in a number of charity events and dinners, but OC Chef’s Table has really had an impact on me. You feel everyone wants to be there because they truly care, and they’re coming together with this heightened sense of community to be involved in something that is such a crucial issue for our fellow human beings.

The interactivity and the connection with the guests while you’re cooking is fantastic, too – I had such an enjoyable time with them.

It’s just a great collection of amazing chefs who are able to do something good – and hang out with great people – for a great cause. I’m really pleased Illumination Foundation asked me to be involved again. It’s difficult to explain how it feels to be a part of it – there’s really nothing like this group.

Any secret menu ideas you’re cooking up for the next OC Chef’s Table?
Well, my latest book – 101 Recipes Every Cook Needs to Know – came out last summer, so I’m planning to pull that evening’s menu from the book with recipes that are seasonal for that time of year.

The best part, though, is that my wife, Ali, is coming along again this year. She’s a pastry chef, so she’s (obviously) going to be in charge of all the truly memorable food!


Food photos credit:
Reprinted with permission from 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Ken Goodman.

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 Rich Mead: Farmhouse – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

Chef Rich Mead - Farmhouse Newport Beach - OC Chefs Table 2019 for Illumination FoundationYour open-air Farmhouse restaurant  has been so well received since its opening in 2016. How have things settled in since the opening?
Chef Rich Mead:
We started out as a French farmhouse with this great footprint, but it seems every time you’re building something, you never end up with enough room in the kitchen. After we opened, we realized that our kitchen was too small for the amount of business we were doing.

So, I worked with the City and the Health Department to take our 700-square-foot basement … which was really more of an unfinished cellar for wine storage … to a fully developed prep kitchen. Now we have floors and stainless steel walls and walk-in storage and freezers with plenty of room for all the prep work we need to do on a daily basis. It’s a godsend.

You have quite the resumé working with one large group at one large table. How in the world do you serve a multi-course meal to ONE table of 200 people?
Very methodically! When the folks from Outstanding in the Field first came on the scene, I thought it was such a great concept – cooking for one long table of people in the middle of nature using only organic finds. Our first event hosted about 40 people. And then it GREW like a weed. We went from hosting 40 people to 140 people … and that’s when I started calling in help.

It’s not unusual to serve 200 diners in an evening … even holiday or group dining buyouts can easily be that large. So, it’s really the same thing … except it’s at one long table all at once. Everyone is looking at their neighbor’s plate! We just did an event for Greenpeace at San Juan Capistrano’s Ecology Center for 250 people, and that was our 10th large event there. Each event is a different experience, so it keeps you on your toes and always creating better solutions for a memorable dining experience.

So, cooking for a table of 10 people at OC Chef’s Table … not as daunting?
It’s an opportunity to get even more creative. Chef Andy Sutton has been my friend for years, and he got me involved for the first time two years ago. He told me there would be more than 30 chefs in the ballroom’s kitchen, and that I needed to think of what I can create just relying on an induction burner in the front. That’s when I started changing things up, thinking in terms of great cold things I could serve … how I could poach a salmon properly, that kind of thing. Cooking is all about solving something … I love figuring that all out.

How do things really go between the chefs at OC Chef’s Table?
It’s fun to work with all these chefs. You can’t afford to hire them in real life for your own restaurant, but you have this one night to work with all of them and get a whiff of the kind of talent they bring to this room. No one feels bad about helping each other. If you need to borrow something at OC Chef’s Table, they lend it to you. I saw some chefs just move over on their own grill to make way for a chef who needed more room for a particular dish. It’s fun to meet your friends again, and great to talk with so many of the younger chefs to get an idea of what they’re doing. 

What one memory do you remember most?
For starters, this is a charity event where just about every dime from the event really does go toward helping the people. That’s important to me. This is a chance to help someone find a new answer and get back on that path. Illumination Foundation gets it … they have a different vision for our world, and when you’re part of this event, you begin to see, too.

The event is a long day. I took a couple of my younger chefs with me, and they went in completely understanding … no one was getting paid to be there and, in a relative sense, it’s a small table of people compared to what we usually produce for a restaurant full of people. But you meet the wonderful people at your table, and you hear the stories from the stage, and you feel the commitment everywhere … and you begin to understand the size of what Illumination Foundation is doing.

But my best memory … when the event was over, these younger guys immediately started talking about how they would do it better next year. There was no question in their minds that they wouldn’t be back again. That’s what this event is all about. It touched these young guys and got them involved with something that’s so much bigger than just cooking.


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 … 



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.

Annual OC Chef’s Table Expands Again for 2019

June 18, 2018 – Illumination Foundation’s popular OC Chef’s Table gala will be expanding again – in size and in number of chefs – for its March 3, 2019 event.

The Disneyland® Resort will be hosting the expanded event again, proving a committed, extraordinary sponsor for the increasingly popular event.

“In past years, we’ve enjoyed our event at the Disneyland® Grand Californian, but so many chefs want to be a part of this now that we had to look for even larger space at the Disneyland® Resort,” says Illumination Foundation Marketing Director Terry Campbell.

For the March 3rd evening, 42 chefs will be individually serving 10 guests at the landmark Disneyland® Hotel.

By expanding to accommodate another 10 acclaimed chefs, Illumination Foundation will be able to invite another 100 guests. The event has proven so popular that it typically sells out months in advance – with 10 more tables, the organization hopes to reach all those people who have tried and been denied in the past because of the fast sales.

Watch here in our blog and in our social media platforms to learn more about each of the new and returning chefs!

Purchase tables or individual tickets here.

Why OC Chef’s Table Is Such a Hit

Presented by Disneyland® Resort, The OC Chef’s Table is the year’s most anticipated event for two reasons:

1. The most lauded chefs of Orange County are all together in one room, pulling out all the stops to create the most memorable, magical dining experience for their guests.
2. These chefs return again and again for Illumination Foundation’s OC Chef’s Table because they’re ready for homelessness to be over.

The non-profit organization, Illumination Foundation (IF) was founded in 2007 with the sole mission to Break the Cycle of Homelessness.

In an effort to help IF with this vast, growing crisis, the greatest chefs of Orange County first came together in 2008 for the inaugural OC Chef’s Table.

Since then, the chef numbers have been expanding in ranks as these great chefs share the news with their lauded peers. They continue to return, giving generously of their time and culinary talents toward a specific need in the homeless community that Illumination Foundation immediately acts on.