The Top 10 Chefs You Need To Know In San Diego
This list was originally published on March 22, 2013.
New York may be a culinary mecca, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of food talent. As such, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight celebrity, notable, or otherwise up-and-coming chefs you should know about across the country. Check out the full list here.
San Diego, California is a solid three-hour drive from the bright lights and big-time toques of Los Angeles, but in the last few years the So-Cal city has been holding its own in in terms of a burgeoning food scene. The main reason, though, that we’d like to tip our hats to the surf spot is because no San Diego chef or restaurant has
ever won a “Best” award. Now, that’s just a shame. James Beard
But it’s not for lack of trying. In January 2011 a culinary tour company called
Bite San Diego launched, taking taste-happy tourists to be a part of the action at the scene-iest restaurants of the day. Of course, the Chef-Mentor we love to hate, Brian Malarkey had his debut way back in 2007, and has had a TV renaissance of sorts on this year’s Top Chef The Taste. So, brush your sandy shoulders off, San Diego. We’d say, you’ve arrived.
The owner and chef at
the izakaya , Frisca spent years traveling around Asia, from Vietnam and Bali to Japan, to develop a deep understanding of Asian flavors. That said, Frisca's the first person to recognize his cultural limitations -- "gaijin" means "foreigner" in Japanese, after all -- and the Italian-trained chef is willing to transcend them. "Some people might be surprised that as an Italian chef, I want to do Japanese food, but it’s my belief that you can cook anything," Gaijin he told You just have to have the passion and the dedication to put yourself out there and try something new and then stick with it to turn it into something really delicious." Discover San Diego.
Maybe Lyons isn’t a household name, but he makes up at least 50% of the team responsible for the 50% beef and 50%
bacon hamburger. Which makes us 100% love him. The so-named 50/50 burger, and it’s eponymous restaurant ( Slaters 50/50, for the other half of the pair, partner John Slater), has pulled in plenty of awards. “Best Burger” by The Orange County Register, OC Weekly and FOX 5 San Diego as well as “Best New Restaurant” by San Diego Magazine. Also, Lyons might just be buddies with "United States of Bacon" host Todd Fischer. So. Insta-cred.
we pick on the dude a lot. A. Lot. (How could we not, when he's named all of his restaurants after fabrics?) But we have to admit, the restaurateur and media personality has made the world notice San Diego -- if not for his blisteringly loud clothing (as seen in this image from his website named "hero_brian"), then for his insistence that there's hidden talent in this happy little city.
Carl Schroeder, who has come up through CIA and the kitchens of Michael Mina, was long-listed as a Best Chef: Pacific James Beard Award semi-finalist for the third time this year, but, for the third time, failed to make finals with his restaurant Market. Chin up, Carl. It's not like any San Diego chef has ever won. Oh, we're not making you feel better? Moving on...
Jason Knibb is the Executive Chef of Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar, but you might recognize him from Iron Chef: America, on which he competed against Bobby Flay in showdown seafood/caviar. He's been groomed by the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Roy Yamaguchi, and this list's own Trey Foshee. Knibb also landed on the Gayot Top 10 Molecular Restaurants in the U.S. list for 2012 after being named a 2010 Rising Star Chef Winner by StarChefs.
Well, you probably won't find
Jeff Rossman hanging out on reality show sets anytime soon, since, according to the , he "disapproves of the type of prima donna personalities lauded in television programs like San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival Hell’s Kitchen." He is, however, a pioneer of the locavore/sustainability movement in sunny SD, and self-published a cookbook teaching San Diegoans how to make the most of their local offerings. Rossman has no formal training, but spent a stint working under Michael Schlow in Boston.
Correction: Exec Chef
Anthony Sinsay is no longer at Harney Sushi, where he landed after working stints at Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, and Nobu in Las Vegas, not to mention opening the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills with Jose Andres. His current post is with Burlap in Del Mar -man, that Malarkey can pick 'em. Sinsay was also named Chef of the Fest at the 2009 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.
Paul Bauer is a relative youngster on our list, but he gets a nod for including "full-time Chef, part-time gangster" in his bio at Cafe Sevilla. A latecomer to the culinary industry, he started at Le Cordon Bleu in 2001 and finished his internship at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel.
the Alchemy chef doesn't boast James Beard Award nominations out the wazoo, but he does something more important: personally investing in the lives of San Diego's youth. The tough-looking Heredia, who had a rough childhood growing up in Fort Wayne, IN, runs a cooking school for 10-to-12-year-olds out of his kitchen -- to provide nurturing experiences. "I was born to cook. I was a natural at a young age,” he told the . “I loved making people happy.” Union-Tribune of San Diego
This talented, but unknown (or at least known less than Malarkey) chef has some serious bona fides to his name: stints at La Folie and Ludo Lefebvre's L'Orangerie, a
for Utah's The Tree Room in 1998, and now the executive chef at Food and Wine Best New Chef award George's at the Cove in La Jolla, CA, known for its gorgeous beaches and infinite seals.