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.
Restaurants: Sage & Canyon Location: Orange County Type of Cuisine: Contemporary American Accolades: One of Bon Appetit's 10 Best Restaurants in America 2010
Awarded One Michelin Star in the 2009 Guide
JustLuxe: At what point in your life did you decide to become a chef? What influenced you to do so?
Richard: In 1982, I was living in Mammoth Lakes. It was there I looked at life and towards a change. I had cooking experience and a college degree and decided I would work on becoming a chef and owning a restaurant.
JustLuxe: If you could give a word of advice to an aspiring chef, what would you say?
Have patience, expect to work hard, taste everything, listen and get as much experience as possible.
JustLuxe: Where do you get inspiration for the design of your dishes and plating?
Richard: Seasons, farmer’s markets, past experience, art galleries, books and magazines
JustLuxe: What do you predict as the next big trend in cooking and/or the restaurant industry?
Richard: Lighter, fresher foods
JustLuxe: Which season do you look forward to the most for its ingredients?
Richard: Summer – tomatoes, corn, onions, squash, etc.
JustLuxe: What places or cities in the world have influenced your cooking the most?
Richard: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Asia, Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
JustLuxe: In your opinion, what innovation has recently influenced the restaurant industry in a significant way?
Richard: Availability of farm fresh produce & meats – farm to table is big. The economy has also been a significant influence. We’ve cut portions along with prices and offered different sized options for the diners - smaller entrees allowing them to have a first course or dessert along with their entree. We’ve also offered Happy Hours to bring in traffic & tried to make some happy hour dishes that aren’t on the regular menu. I’ve had to search for proteins that are unusual or lower priced which we can use to create dishes at a lower price point and still work for our food costs, the customers tastes and pocket book. With our vegetables, we try to keep waste to a minimum by using the tops to the beets and turnips for braised greens, carrot peels & onion skins for stocks.
JustLuxe: What would you say is the current climate of business in the restaurant industry?
Lots of new ideas, less expensive small plates, new beer, cocktails and innovative restaurant design.
JustLuxe: What is your favorite dish to prepare at home as opposed to the plate you enjoy preparing in the kitchen?
Richard: At home I enjoy preparing a swordfish sandwich with beefsteak tomato, sweet onion, butter lettuce on toasted country bread with a roast garlic tartar sauce. At the restaurant, I enjoy creating the featured taco for Tuesday Taco Night.
JustLuxe: Besides gastronomy, what other passions do you have?
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