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Off the Menu: Locals Win Big at Golden Foodie Awards

Catherine and Chef Pascal

Catherine and Chef Pascal

By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale

“And the winner is…”

The Golden Foodie Awards were held last Sunday evening at the Fairmont Newport Beach hotel. More than 400 people packed a ballroom to applaud the county’s best restaurants, chefs, bartenders, cuisine and cocktails in 24 categories, from Best Burger to Best New Restaurant.

Guests walked the red carpet, enjoyed creative cocktails, and dined on gourmet food tastings and desserts from a variety of restaurants (including many of the nominees).

Celebrity master of ceremonies was Simon Majumdar from the Food Network, who proved to be an energetic and enjoyable host.

Newport Beach was well represented in many of the categories, as was Laguna Beach.  Chef Cathy Pavlos picked up two

Chef Cathy Pavlos

Chef Cathy Pavlos

awards, one for Best Vegetarian Restaurant with Provenance in Newport Beach (“Vegetables are now center of the plate” Pavlos told the audience), and the other for Best Mediterranean for LUCCA in Irvine.

Chef Pascal Olhats won an award for Best French Restaurant for his new Pascal’s in San Juan Capistrano, but he also has his Café Jardin at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar, which serves French-inspired coastal cuisine, and Chef Pascal had his Pascal’s restaurant in Newport for nearly two decades plus Brasserie Pascal at Fashion Island for several years, so we think of him as a Newport chef.

“”I’m very happy to have won this great award,” said Pascal. “Thanks to all my staff who made this happen, to my wife for her full support, to all my friends who voted for us, to all the foodies of Orange County, and to my faithful customers!”

Leo Fenn of Selanne Steak Tavern

Leo Fenn of Selanne Steak Tavern

Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach picked up its first Golden Foodie Award for Best Wine List (beating out two Newport Beach favorites: The Winery Restaurant and Cucina Enoteca).

“We are very proud to have been awarded the Best Wine Award,” said Leo Fenn, who helms the restaurant’s wine and beverage lists. “Our wine list focuses on California cult wines and other highly rated world-class selections designed to complement the fine steaks and seafood offerings.”

In addition to the regular wine list, Selanne offers “The Black List” which includes high-end, hard-to-find global wines.

Another Laguna Beach restaurant, Maro Wood Grill, was a three-peat winner for Best Dessert (they won previously in

Maro Wood Grill

Maro Wood Grill

2013 and 2014). We’ve been to Maro, and can vouch for the accolades given to the banana bread pudding, but their burger is also one of the best in OC.

Selanne was also nominated for Best Steak, but lost to The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim. Chef Ryan Adams of 370 Common and Chef Craig Strong of Studio (at the Montage), both in Laguna Beach, were nominated for Chef of the Year, but lost to Chef Andrew Sutton of Napa Rose (but we think all three are among the best in OC).

Catherine and Stan Frazier, restaurateur and drummer for Sugar Ray

Catherine and Stan Frazier, restaurateur and drummer for Sugar Ray

Other Newport nominees included SOL Cocina for Best Cocktail, Bluefin for Best Sushi, Cafe Beau Soleil for Best French, Sushi Roku for Best Asian Cuisine, Pizzeria Sapori for Best Pizza, Dory Deli for Best Burger, Bluewater Grill for Best Seafood, and Moulin Bistro for Best New Restaurant.

Among the Laguna Beach nominees was Chef Lee Smith of Montage for Pastry Chef of the Year.

We also want to congratulate SOCIAL restaurant in Costa Mesa for winning Best New Restaurant and Best California Cuisine. We’ve been to SOCIAL several times since they opened exactly one year ago, and each time came away impressed with the food, the cocktails and the ambiance.

 

 

GOLDEN FOODIE AWARDS (winner is in bold):

Best Cocktails:

The Blind Rabbit

Arc Food and Libations

SOL Cocina

Presenters: Brett Goering and Darren Blair, Ketel One Vodka

 

Bartender of the Year 2015

Alex Filkins, Wild Goose Tavern

Mike West, SOCIAL Costa Mesa

Benjamin Gonzales, Hopscotch Tavern

Presenter: Timothy Sample, Southern Wine & Spirits

 

Best Food Talk Radio

Food News with Melinda Lee

The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra

The SoCal Restaurant Show with Andy Harris

Presenters: Vince Ferragamo, Former Quarterback for the LA Rams and Ed Lee, Co-Founder of Wahoo’s

 

Best Food Writer

Cathy Thomas

Brad Johnson

Anita Lau

Presenters: Ed Lee, Co-Founder of Wahoo’s and Vince Ferragamo, Former Quarterback for the LA Rams

 

Best Sushi

Bluefin Fine Japanese

Hamamori Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Riptide Rockin’ Sushi

Presenters: Marcel Vigneron, Chef/Owner of Beefsteak and Wolf and Rachel Klemek, Founder of Blackmarket Bakery

 

Best Dessert

Maro Wood Grill

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen

The Ranch Restaurant

Presenters: Rachel Klemek, Founder of Blackmarket Bakery and Marcel Vigneron, Chef/Owner of Beefsteak and Wolf

 

 

Best Service Award

Anaheim White House

Villa Roma

The Hobbit

Presenters: Kimberly Daskas, Vestar and The District at Tustin Legacy and Greer Wylder, Greer’s OC

 

Best Indian Cuisine

Royal Khyber

Adya

Clay Oven

Presenters: Martin and Karen Diedrich, Owners of Kean Coffee

 

Best Mexican Cuisine

Tortilla Republic

Taco Maria

Matador Cantina

Presenters: Neil Saavedra and Oscar Ramirez of The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra on KFI AM 640

 

Best Italian Cuisine

Brunos Italian Kitchen

Brick Pizzeria

Antonello Ristorante

Presenters: Oscar Ramirez and Neil Saavedra of The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra on KFI AM 640

 

Best French Cuisine

Pascal’s San Juan Capistrano

Bistro Bleu

Cafe Beau Soleil

Presenters: Chef Ludo Lefevbre, star of The Taste and co-owner of Trois Mec and Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s

 

Best Asian Cuisine

AnQi

Sushi Noguchi

Sushi Roku

Presenters: Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s and Chef Ludo Lefevbre, star of The Taste and co-owner of Trois Mec.

 

Best Mediterranean Cuisine

LUCCA

D’Vine ~ A Mediterranean Experience

GG’s Bistro

Presenters: Stan Frazier, drummer of Sugar Ray and Stacy Zeller, Melissa’s Produce

 

Best Vegetarian Cuisine

Provenance

118 Degrees

Au Lac Restaurant

Presenters: Stacy Zeller, Melissa’s Produce and Stan Frazier, former drummer of Sugar Ray and restaurateur.

 

Best Beer List

BRU Market and Grill

Haven Gastropub

Hopscotch Tavern

Presenters: Charlie Plummer, host of the Golden Chef Series and Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier

 

Best Wine List

The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Selanne Steak Tavern

Cucina enoteca

Presenters: Michael Jordan, Master Sommelier and Charlie Plummer, host of the Golden Chef Series

 

Best Pizza

Pizzeria Ortica

Pizzeria Sapori

Brick Pizzeria

Presenters: Ashley Richardson and Anna Grieco, Aloha SDCR

 

Best Steak

The Ranch Restaurant

Arc Food and Libations

Selanne Steak Tavern

Presenters: Chef Andrew Gruel, star of FYI’s Say It To My Face and Founder of SLAPFISH and Amy Jo Pedone, Valenza Chocolatier

 

Best Burger

Mick’s Karma Bar

Dory Deli

25 Degrees

Presenters: Karl Kruger, General Manager of the Fairmont Newport Beach and Cathy Thomas, of CathyThomasCooks.com

 

Best Californian Cuisine

SOCIAL Costa Mesa

SeaLegs

Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails

Presenters: Michael Cho and Alan Greeley, Golden Foodie Awards 2013 Chef of the Year and owner/chef Golden Truffle

 

Best Seafood

Scott’s Restaurant and Bar

SLAPFISH

Bluewater Grill

Presenters: Alan Greeley, Golden Foodie Awards 2013 Chef of the Year and owner/chef Golden Truffle and Michael Cho

 

Best New Restaurant

Waterman’s Harbor

Moulin Bistro

SOCIAL Costa Mesa

Presenters: Fifi Chao, OC Business Journal and Bruno Serato, CNN’s Top 10 Hero of the Year and owner of the Anaheim White House

 

Pastry Chef of the Year

Chef Lee Smith, Montage

Chef Ashley Guzman, The North Left

Chef Dave Rossi, The Ranch Restaurant

Presenters: Andrew Harris of SoCal Restaurant Show and Linda Kissam, President of IFWTWA

 

Chef of the Year

Chef Andrew Sutton, Napa Rose

Chef Ryan Adams, 370 Common

Chef Craig Strong, Studio

Presenters: Pamela Waitt, President of the OC Restaurant Association/Creator of the Golden Foodie Awards and Judy Walker, Share Our Strength

More info: goldenfoodieawards.com.

 

 

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