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Tag: OC Chef’s Table

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!

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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.

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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 Magellan Moore: Mastro’s OceanClub – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

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.

Chef-Magellan-at-OC-Chefs-Table-eventFor 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.

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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 Michael Rossi: The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon – 5 Questions, 5 Minutes

When did you discover the glory of cooking?
Chef Michael Rossi:
When I was a kid, my brother and I would fix taquitos or wontons before baseball practice. At the age of 8, I was Master of the Toaster Oven. It was a heady experience.

But the real cookin’ happened at my Grandma’s house.  My Dad was the oldest of 6 kids, and my siblings and I were the first grandkids of many to come. My grandfather was in charge of the bread and pizza baking, and Grandma was in charge of everything else. We weren’t even allowed in the kitchen until it was time to clean the dishes. Eventually, though, I got to stand on the chair and stir sauce – that was another big moment, for sure.

When did you decide cooking needed to be your profession?
When I discovered people actually cooked for a living! I was majoring in business law at U of A, and one of my buddy’s roommates got accepted to CIA in New York. At first, I thought they were talking “THE” CIA, and when I found out it was a culinary school to train chefs, I was aghast.

I remember thinking, “There are schools to DO this for a living?” We had no Internet or Food Network back then; I had no frame of reference. I rummaged up a few formal cooking shows on TV and … on a whim … flew up to check out the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. I flew there in the morning, flew back the same evening, and drove straight to my parents’ house to tell my Dad I was slightly changing my major from business law to cooking.

My Dad was even more aghast. “What?” he said. “You’re going to go to school to be a fry cook at Denny’s?” But I took him up to see the CCA campus, and he was as amazed as I was. It was so cool to see so many people passionate about cooking.

What was your first restaurant job out of CCA?
I started working for a great chef in San Francisco while I was still in school. I totally immersed myself; I couldn’t get enough. I stayed at the school on the weekends to cook with chefs and took cooking classes the chef professors offered to the public. I honed in on Roy’s in Maui as my first real excursion in 1997. Roy’s was THE place to be; it was a great education.

So, tell me about what happened between Roy’s and The Ranch in Anaheim?
I was all over the map. I attended culinary school in Italy for a year, returned to Brentwood to work at Border Grill, then flew back to Italy to work at the 2-star Michelin restaurant, Locanda Posada Solarola. Chefs came from all over the world to work with this chef, so I was living with two Japanese guys and working in an Italian kitchen where absolutely no one spoke English. I was – seriously – a fish out of water in just about every way, but it was such a phenomenal experience.

I came back here to open Roy’s in L.A., then was involved in the opening of Napa Rose at the Disneyland© Resort and Ambrosia in Santa Ana.  When The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon opportunity came along, I jumped at the chance.

So, what of your personality exists in The Ranch?
Well, all the places I’ve worked … they all have a place here on The Ranch’s menu. We’re blessed to cook whatever we want, and I like to change it up all the time. On a normal evening, we’ll have 10 or 12 menu items that we’ve changed from the day before. You can only pull that kind of thing off with a talented team that loves to cook, and I’ve got the best around.

Chef Michael Rossi - The Ranch AnaheimI love finding really unique suppliers with superior product. I just got back from Tasmania where I spent a week hanging out with a bunch of great chefs and going to the Wagyu beef farms and whiskey distilleries. It’s my inspiration for this year’s New Year’s Eve menu.

This is your third year at OC Chef’s Table. What did you think of your first year at OC Chef’s Table?
I loved it! Chef Andy Sutton over at Napa Rose is a great friend of mine – he’s the one who got me involved. Just being back on the Disneyland® campus and being around all those great chefs … it just felt like going home.

But the real sense of “family’ began when the Illumination Foundation folks opened the doors, and all these amazing people came in to support their cause. The crowd and the stories and the leaders on the stage who are so committed to ending the homelessness issue … it brought it all home to me. It was just overwhelming being a part of such a good thing. It’s why we keep returning.

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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 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 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 … 

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