Walter Mencken 2:08 p.m., Aug. 27
Elusive Chef Gives Way to Pacifica Del Mar Reunion
I’ll never forget the first big culinary event I attended. It was a celebration of La Jolla chefs held four years ago at the Marine Room. Their executive chef, Bernard Guillas, had invited nine of the area’s best fine dining toques to cook for a crowd of over 100 diners.
That assemblage included big names like Trey Foshee (George’s California Modern), Jason Knibb (NINE-TEN), Jeff Jackson (A.R. Valentien, The Lodge at Torrey Pines) and even long-lost gastronomes like Tony DiSalvo (of the now defunct and scandalous Jack’s La Jolla) and Evan Cruz. The latter chef worked at Roy’s La Jolla at the time and served up an spiny lobster roulade appetizer that resonates as a very nice dish to this day.
A few months later, I reached out to interview Cruz for an article I was writing only to find that he’d moved on. When I asked where he’d gone, nobody knew. It was a bummer, but there are certainly a great many more fish in the sea when it comes to culinary talent in a county as large as ours. Years passed and I continued to immerse myself even deeper in San Diego’s dining subculture. Then, earlier this year, I discovered that Pacifica Del Mar had hired a new head chef to take over the kitchen after chef Chris Idso made the move to take over the front of the house.
I asked who had stepped into Idso’s clogs and received a blast from the past. It was Cruz. I immediately headed over to Pacifica Del Mar to catch up with him and check out his new menu. The food was outstanding, Cruz’s enthusiasm and attitude were infectious, and I left happy to have Cruz back and in a visible post in San Diego where people could enjoy his cooking.
Fast forward to last week when I heard from a chef friend of mine that Cruz is no longer at Pacifica Del Mar. I did some investigating and, as it turns out, he decided to take a job elsewhere. It’s bad to lose a good chef once, but this second time is worse because I was excited about he and Idso’s collaboration at Pacifica Del Mar.
It looks as though an even more synergistic relationship exists between Idso and his new executive chef, Mark Bolton. Bolton worked under Idso back when he was still the one calling the shots in the back of the house. After that, he moved to The Fleetwood. Both are excited about getting the band back together, and I will be sure to post about it as soon as I go in to check things out.
Pacifica Del Mar is located at 1555 Camino Del Mar.
The busy Pacifica Del Mar has invited one of its former kitchen guys back to lead the show in the back of the house.
More like this:
- Prepkitchen Del Mar preps for re-open — Aug. 24, 2012
- The Last Piece of the Del Mar’s Puzzle Is in Place — Jan. 6, 2012
- The Missing Point in Del Mar's Chef Triangle — Nov. 1, 2011
- Arroz Caldo — March 16, 2011
- Mom’s Banana Walnut Salad — Dec. 23, 2009