The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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Page 74 of 112

CHEF TALK CHEF DE CUISINE GREGG WANGARD SHARES TALES ABOUT HIS PURVEYORS Storied Re-Past H story and photos by Meridith May ow did a Wisconsin boy settle on California’s Central Coast? “I came from a town of 830 people,” says Gregg Wangard, whose father named him after Green Bay Packers Hall-of-Famer Forrest Gregg, whom Vince Lombardi called “the best player I ever coached.”Lo Wangard headed west and landed a chef position at Loews Santa Monica Hotel. “I would go to Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market and meet some amazing farmers from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles. I got to know a lot of people.” When the timing was right, in the fall of 2007, Wangard accepted the position of Chef de Cuisine at Marisol restaurant at the magnificent Cliffs Hotel in Pismo Beach. He’s back in a rural area once again. “Since I already knew the local purveyors so well, I was thrilled to work with them and have food items delivered directly to the hotel. Procuring the freshest products allows me to keep the restaurant current to the season. It’s not just what you do with food, but knowing the support system from which it comes.” At the Marisol restaurant at The Cliffs Hotel in Pismo Beach, CA, Chef de Cuisine Gregg wangard shows off his locally grown heirloom tomato (from Peacock farms in nearby Arroyo Grande) and burrata cheese salad. The micro-basil in the salad is from local grower Bloom in Los osos, and the olive oil is from olea in Paso robles. Captain Evans’s local halibut is fished from a boat called Lucy L out of Morro Bay. The 80-year-old captain “tells you how deep the water was where each fish was caught.” 74 / the tasting panel / september 2010 House-smoked salmon in a brown sugar cure melts on the tongue. It is accompanied by crème fraîche and horseradish, with a side of thinly- sliced (hot!) jalapeños. “This is a 43 ranch grilled rib-eye. The ranch supports 4H kids and their hand- fed steers.” wangard buys an entire grain-fed steer and uses the meat, “from cheeks to bones for soup stock.”

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