Have you always wanted to ask your favorite chef what they love to eat when they’re at home? Or perhaps what they think the next big food or dining trend will be? Look no further than this exclusive series of chef interviews by JustLuxe. So read on, as we bring you these answers and more — direct from the culinary masters themselves. Some of the most famous names in the industry, including legendary Michelin-starred chefs, have divulged exciting insider information and personal stories of their journey to the top just for our readers.
Restaurant: Addison at The Grand Del Mar Location: San Diego Type of Cuisine: Contemporary French Accolades: Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef distinction, Addison holds both the Forbes Five Star Award and AAA Five Diamond Award
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
William: I started working in commercial kitchens when I was only 16 years old, and at that point it was all about learning the fundamentals of cooking and trying to discover what it takes to be a great chef. I decided then that I really wanted to take the challenge, become a professional chef, and hopefully a great one down the road.
The beautiful foods and products that Mother Nature gives us year after year – especially in San Diego -- were a big influence. I have evolved into being a very product-driven chef. I also like the creative process using these ingredients as well as the disciplines needed to be a chef. Another reason that I became a chef is because I like the pluses of kitchen teamwork and camaraderie. And, of course, the pleasure of feeding others fine food that they rave about.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
William: Patience is key to producing perfect cuisine. You need to develop a repertoire of dishes that speaks to you. A young chef needs to understand that it has all been done before, but the inspiring part is working with the ingredients that surround us and coming up with ways of combining these ingredients to make something truly special and unique.
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
William: Colorful and flavorful ingredients are what drive our menus. For me, it is exciting to know that you have to wait an entire year for black truffles to come into season, for example, but then it’s completely worth the wait to be able to create with these perfect fungi. When it comes to designing my plates, I like the plate to look clean and simple, yet with a high level of sophistication and attractive detail.
JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?
William: I’m really not a fan of anything that is a trend because that just means it has a beginning and an end. What is exciting for me is to look towards the bounty of the seasons and all the organic ingredients available as resources for our creations. I feel strongly about chefs continuing to seek out and support local farmers in all levels of cuisine.
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
William: Summertime in Southern California delivers vast varieties of phenomenal heirloom vegetables. I change my cooking techniques a bit when these pristine vegetables are abundant in order to let the ingredient itself shine on the plate. I love working with different colors, varieties and textures, so I’m always awed by summer produce.
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
William: Primarily Japan and France. The connection between the two are that they have a dedicated sense of refined simplicity, which makes for the grandest of cuisines, in my opinion.
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
William: The “Real Wine List” app on the iPad is a terrific innovation and one that Addison is incorporating into our wine program. The app is basically a completely up-to-date online wine list that allows guests to see every wine that is available at the restaurant. Guests can jump directly to the varietal or region they are searching for to eliminate all the usual page turning.
JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?
William: Our fine dining business here at Addison is very good and seems to be getting even better as the economy improves. There are so many different segments in the restaurant industry and I’m not familiar enough with all of the data to know, but from what I read and from those I talk to in the industry, it is generally on a healthy upswing.
JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?
William: BBQ chicken prepared on my outdoor grill is definitely a favorite.
JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?
William: Collecting vintage cookbooks and cycling.
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