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This is my Disneyland, my happy place. A lot of inspiration for my food comes from here. We’re doing a dish now called Central Coast, inspired by the wind and smells coming off the ocean. It’s oysters steamed over seaweed from our forager Courtney Guerra, with buttermilk that we make in-house, caviar and radishes. We put it in front of people and don’t tell them what’s in it until they’ve eaten it.
When my business partner, Ashleigh Parsons, and I opened Alma, her one prerequisite was that we build a garden for underprivileged kids. She went to the New Village Charter School near the restaurant and spearheaded a garden initiative and cooking classes. Now Ashleigh has launched another school garden. I’m so inspired by her work.
I always add citrus when I cook for myself. It enhances the whole dish, makes it more floral and balanced. It could be lime or Meyer lemon or orange, but there has to be citrus in the dish.