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Chef Celebration

Every Tuesday in the month of October, a non-profit organization, San Diego Chef Celebration helps to support a culinary scholarship program for young aspiring chefs. The 14th annual dinner series gives people the opportunity to sample different cuisines created by 20 award-winning, well-known San Diego chefs. The chefs come together at some of San Diego’s finest dining restaurants to donate their time and talents to the culinary scholarship program. This year's restaurants consist of: Pamplemousse, 1540 Kitchen, Cowboy Star Restaurant, Cucina Urbana, and Terra Restaurant.

Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop hosted the Chef Celebration on October 13, 2009, with the featured chefs: Chef Bernard Guillas, La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club; Chef Christian Graves, J Six Restaurant; Chef David McIntyre, Crescent Heights Restaurant; Chef Brian Malarkey, The Oceanaire; Chef Victor Jimenez, Cowboy Star Restaurant and Gabriel Bonis, a scholarship recipient.

Chef Bernard Guillas is extremely passionate about his culinary experience and was delightful to talk with. His featured dish was the Trifecta dessert, which was exceptionally delicious.

 

Trifecta Dessert

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Originally from Brittany, France, Chef Bernard decided to come to San Diego: “What was appealing to me was because of the weather and lifestyle and the ocean… I grew up on the ocean in Brittany, France, " he said. "It is a different ocean, but I have to tell you that the water is much warmer here than in Brittany. I also like the potential growth when it comes to the farming community and the restaurant scene.”

Chef Guillas recalled, “When I first came here, there was not much going on, but the city has blossomed to be, I would say, a great community destination. The chefs are focused on ingredients being sustainable, and we work together to deal up a great vibe for San Diego.”

Chef Bernard restaurants consist of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club where he runs the Marine Room, as well as the La Jolla Shores Hotel. When asked about his famous chef philosophy, he said, “From farm to table. From the fishermen to my kitchen. One of the most important things as chefs is that we all have to sort of be caretakers of the planet and try to make a difference. You make a difference by being sustainable and by being involved in the community. I don’t say that it has to be a 100 percent green, but you have to be as green as you can.” Chef Bernard had a special look on life. “Life is a journey, so enjoy every second of it,” he said.

Chef Bernard enjoys cooking during all seasons in San Diego. “What’s great about San Diego is that when it comes to seasons, everybody thinks we have no seasons, but actually we do have seasons,” said Bernard. “We have a green summer season and winter season. I would say summertime is the bounty of the farmers. We have the melons, the tomatoes, the herbs and also have all the beautiful light, fresh crisp ingredients.”

 

 

Vande Rose Petite Porchetta

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Victor Jimenez is the executive chef and proprietor of Cowboy Star Restaurant and butcher shop where the Chef Celebration took place. Cowboy Star opened a year and a half ago, and this is the very first time they have featured this event.

It was very intriguing that Chef Bernard Guillas was one of the chefs at Cowboy Star since Chef Victor Jimenez referred to him as a mentor. “Chef Bernard has been putting the San Diego flag out there for a long time,” said Chef Jimenez. “Bernard gave me the opportunity to work and learn under him for many years. When I graduated from the culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in France, he wrote my letter of recommendation. So obviously everything I do, even though he is really relaxed and comfortable, I still think of those days that I have to measure up to his standards to keep showing him that it was never a waste of time.”

Chef Victor moved to San Diego in 1976, and his family has been here since 1956. When asked what his culinary philosophy was in regard to San Diego, he said, “I guess my philosophy is that I am just as good as my last meal. This will give us a reminder, especially to me and my crew, that the work is never done. We have to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday.” Chef Victor Jimenez wants San Diego to see that Cowboy Star makes a difference. “If we continue with our mentality, San Diego will continue to see that Cowboy Star makes a little bit of a difference of what we bring to the table. With all that aside, we are lucky that we are in this corner of the country with amazing things and amazing farmers,” he said.

Participating Chefs at Cowboy Star Chef Celebration

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Chef Victor emphasized that Chef Celebration pushes the young culinary talent and requires a commitment for them to come back to San Diego after the scholarship. “There are so many chefs pushing to make San Diego a better dining destination. We want to make sure the standards that we are working so hard for to put out this young talent will push San Diego’s dining scene to the forefront,” said Jimenez.

Like the other chefs, Chef David knows San Diego is great for its farming. “I believe a lot of people, especially in this town in San Diego, have access to some of the best produce, seafood and local grown meats. I really love focusing on just the fresh, seasonal ingredients and making those ingredients shine,” said Chef McIntyre.

The five-course Chef Celebration dinner at Cowboy Star was superb. The waiting staff was knowledgeable in each of the different courses and their timing was spot-on. Most of the chefs took the time to make special appearances throughout the dinner to meet the guests.

All Chef Celebration dinners are a $65 donation per person with $35 going toward the scholarship fund for the young chefs culinary art institute.

 

Details »
  • City: San Diego
  • Phone: (619) 450-5880
  • Name: Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop
  • Address: 640 10th Ave