Cooking since the age of 14, executive chef Stephane Voitzwinkler shares his journey as a French chef and preps his delicious almond & parmesan crusted sea bass on this episode of In the Kitchen.
Almond & Parmesan Crusted Sea Bass
Almond & Parmesan Crusted Seabass with English Pea Risotto and Shimeji Mushrooms
What's the story behind adding this dish to the menu?
Local sea bass came in (caught daily and delivered to the dock downtown) and was beautiful ... I know a lot of people appreciate it, but they have seen it done some typical ways. We wanted to explore something different.
What's the key component to this dish?
Perfect quality fish.
Describe the taste to someone who haven't had this dish?
Flaky & moist fish, bright spring flavors of English pea and hand-selected herbs.
What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish?
Beer could be a Witbier like Allagash White or Ballast Point's Wahoo Wheat.
What makes this dish a good addition to the menu?
It's a familiar mix of ingredients in a fresh new presentation that allows the incredible quality and freshness of the product to lead the way.
Watch as executive chef Stephane Voitzwinkler preps a sea bass.
What kind of experience will a diner get at Mister A's?
One of the rare places that has cuisine that matches the view. Ingredients fresh from Chino Farms.
About Stephane Voitzwinkler
Are you from San Diego?
I moved to San Diego in 1989 from my hometown of Le Meridien Kolmar Alsace-Lauren.
What inspired you to become a chef?
It all started working with my mom in the kitchen when I was very young. I enjoyed going with her daily to the farmers markets, bakeries and especially the butcher shop because he always gave me a sample of something as a treat while she was shopping. The wide world of fresh produce and products ... enjoying the flavors and satisfaction on the palate ... and expressing myself with my hands is what got me into cooking.
What has your journey been like leading up your current position at Mister A's?
Interesting ... never a dull moment.
Worked for a huge corporation for 10 years with 130 cooks at Hyatt, and then have been able to refine my craft at A's. There have been totally different requirements at each place I worked ... at Hyatt alone, I was involved with the kitchens at 5 venues (Lael's, Redfields, Pool bar, Sallys, IRD, not to mention banquets, etc.)
Executive Sous Chef following being Restaurant Chef at Le Meridien in Coronado (now the Marriott) and "Chef Tournant" before that as well.
My start in San Diego was after requesting a transfer from Le Meridien in London to the one in Coronado. Mister A's has been the most demanding and high-pressure situation, but an amazing journey and has continued to allow this profession to be something I enjoy daily, and that still challenges me daily.
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
Pan Seared Scallops with Panisse, Zucchini Flower and Olive Caramel.
What's your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Fresh saltwater fish ... not all seafood, but where I come from all the fish was from lakes and rivers. Sea bass, halibut and all of these amazing ocean-borne fish really intrigue and excite me still.
What is one culinary trend you're noticing in San Diego?
San Diegans are getting more adventurous, everyone's menus are reflecting it. It is nice to see the city finally move towards the center of the culinary world and explore new cuisines, ingredients ... and embrace them.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge when it comes creating new dishes?
Being able to come up with the dish is fun, the hard part is to guarantee that it remains consistent with its original intention in the rush of service.
When you're not coming up with delicious dishes, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Biking, surfing, camping, fishing, spending time with my family, golfing.