After more than 20 years of operating Café Jardin and the Creperie at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar, Chef Pascal Olhats – who has been the owner and executive chef for a number of noted French restaurants in Orange County – is closing Café Jardin to pursue other projects. Café Jardin will serve its last meal on May 22.
The news was announced by Sherman Gardens Executive Director Scott LaFleur during the Orange Coast Magazine “Best Restaurants” dining event at Sherman Gardens on May 6.
“Chef Pascal has lots of other things on his plate, but we’re sad to see him go,” said LaFleur.
However, explained LaFleur, “Chef Jessica Roy, who has been working with Pascal for a couple of years, will open a new restaurant here called Cultivar. In horticulture terms, Cultivar is a plant that has been selected for the best flowers or the best foliage or the best aromas. Chef Jessica is going to that right here in the garden. She is going to work with our horticulturalists and we’re going to plant her a farmer’s market so she can select the best and the freshest ingredients, and combine those with her talent and creativity. She’s going to make Cultivar dishes right here in the garden.”
That’s exciting news for Chef Jessica. I have been a fan of hers ever since enjoying her cuisine at the Renaissance Hotel in Newport Beach several years ago. I was also honored to sit at her table for the Table for Ten charity culinary event. Her menu that night was incredible and her culinary skills dazzling. Oh—and she also was the winner of Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network, picking up $20,000 in prize money. I have no doubt Cultivar will provide the perfect showcase for her talents.
Of course, I’ve also been a longtime fan of Chef Pascal, whose culinary history in Orange County dates back more than three decades. He operated Tradition by Pascal in Newport Beach for more than 20 years, and had Brasserie Pascal in Fashion for several years, where I was a frequent diner. He also was a consultant for French 75 and Savannah Chop House.
According to Pascal, he is “folding my apron and start a new chapter.”
In an email, he wrote that “this may sound like a retirement; however, it is not, I am retiring from restaurant ownership, but not from the food industry.”
His current projects: “Pascal Cuisine Catering” a private events company; Pascal’s merchandising, featuring his own coffee brand; teaching French Cuisine at Saddleback College; a Culinary Professional Apprentice program; coordinating cooking and culinary experiences in France.