I don't head to South County enough, and it's places like Pub Thirty Two that remind me why I should. Jered's previous experience (plus love of beer and cocktails) makes him an asset in the kitchen. He gives the locals welcoming Irish cuisine, but isn't afraid to introduce more progressive fare that pairs well with their drink selections. Oh, and if you like sour beers, be sure to strike up a conversation.
What is the concept and story behind the name of the restaurant?
The owner, Diarmuid Noone, is from Ireland, and the Pub Thirty Two name is based on the original thirty two counties in Ireland. The restaurant represents our desire to bring the type of restaurant and bar experience one might enjoy in Ireland to Mission Viejo; a place you will be as comfortable holding a professional lunch meeting as you are having drinks and great conversation with friends late night. We strive to provide a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere with food, drinks and events that exceed expectation. Our restaurant is farm-to-fork, and our menu changes seasonally. We partner with local ranches to bring you fresh, local and sustainable food.
How does the restaurant plan to celebrate New Year's?
With a bang! We offer a pretty fun atmosphere at Pub Thirty Two on New Year's Eve. We'll be running a limited menu of our regular items, as well as a chef's four-course tasting (wine pairing optional). We'll also have live music!
Most underappreciated ingredient that you love using:
I wouldn't call it an "ingredient"— I'm a huge fan of acid. Acidity is the most underused component in a dish. I'm always looking for it in other dishes, and find it missing a lot. Also, salt. I find that salt is the most important ingredient and makes or breaks dishes everywhere around the world.
Where did you grow up, and where's home these days?
I was raised in Laguna Hills, but I now reside in Capistrano Beach.
Your favorite childhood memory:
Sundays. Menudo with chorizo con papas and homemade tortillas at my grandma's house. She was my favorite cook (Sorry, Mom!).
One stereotype about your industry, and whether it's true.
There are so many. I think one of the biggest is that everyone thinks that chefs are rich (no thanks to TV personalities). We spend so much time in the restaurant and put in so many hours while people think we have nice houses, cars, etc. We dedicate ourselves to this career because we have a passion for it, not because we want a paycheck (you're in the wrong career if that's not the case).
What made you decide to pursue a career in restaurants? What was the turning point?
My grandmother and mother were big influences on me when I was young. You could always find me in the kitchen watching them cook (or watching cooking shows), and even cooking myself. I knew I wanted to do something in the field, so I've always been drawn to this industry. I started out as far back when I was 18. And for a while wanted to bartend, but found myself spending more and more time in the kitchen with the chef asking questions and talking about food. I went to work at a catering company, bartending events; but when they found out I had good kitchen skills, they hired me as a full-time cook. That pretty much sealed the deal.
I hear you like to hunt; how'd you get into that?
One of my good childhood friends lives in Montana, and he invited me to go out with him. Eventually, he got me into using bows, which I'd shoot at a range. And now I take it out hunting wild boar (in California) and deer (in Montana). You can find me hunting here, in Colorado and Montana.
You're making breakfast; what are you having?
I don't eat much breakfast, I drink it! If I have the time (or worthwhile occasion), a piece of toast with a spread of butter, smashed avocado and poached egg with a spicy hot sauce on top.
What's your most recent food find?
I've been going to El Molino de Oro in San Juan Capistrano my entire life, and had never thought to order beef tacos de lengua. The tongue is cooked to perfection, tender and juicy with perfect buttered corn tortillas, caramelized onions, cilantro and their salsa roja. I'm always looking for the smaller mom and pop places to eat at, or something off the beaten path.
I hear there's live entertainment on weekends?
We try to find local talent to come in and play live music every Friday and Saturday late night. We will be starting our Thursday night open mic again shortly, as well. We've been really lucky to have some amazing talent come through our doors and play for our guests. Living in Southern California, many people have big dreams and pursue music careers. We figured, why not offer that to our guests?
Last thing you looked up online?
Right now, I'm looking up some cocktail ideas for our latest menu. I have a huge passion for craft cocktails; I love making my own bitters and mixing up my own concoctions. Just the other day I was showing a friend some dishes from Pujol (a restaurant in Mexico City), trying to get some ideas and inspiration.
What is your definition of happiness?
I truly get happy by seeing other people happy. If I can make someone smile when they eat a dish I've created, that's always very fulfilling. I'm always trying to make other people comfortable and happy, whether it's here at the restaurant or at my home with family and friends. To me, there's nothing better than sitting around a fire with family and friends or breaking bread and telling stories over a good bottle of wine.
You have a whole day to yourself; what would you do?
I'm pretty easygoing, until I get more than one consecutive day off; then I'll get out of town. Otherwise, I just run errands and relax. Sometimes, if I can get up early I'll sneak in a quick session shooting my bow, or try to get a round of golf in. I like to be outside as much as possible. If I'm going to grab lunch, it would probably be something ethnic (Peruvian, shabu shabu or ramen), but I might need a nap afterwards (hashtag: food coma). Evenings off, I'd head over to San Juan Brewhouse for a sour beer, do dinner out with a friend, or even just a movie and wine.
Tell me about your guilty pleasure food.
Although I don't often indulge in them, donuts and ice cream are my all-time favorite junk foods. I have been told I'm pretty creative when it comes to cooking ramen (has to be Maruchan, of course).
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Tell us something most people don't know about you.
I was a pretty good athlete when I was younger. Could have gone off to college for either track or football.
Hardest life lesson you've learned:
Nothing worth having comes easy.
What profession would you like to try if you weren't in this business?
That's a tough one. If I couldn't be a chef or bartender, I would probably be making custom flooring pieces with my buddy. He has a successful flooring business, and we always try to think up some amazing wood and tile designs. We sometimes find ourselves watching HGTV, criticizing their designers.
Pub Thirty Two is located at 23962 Alicia Parkway, Mission Viejo, (949) 716-0687; www.pubthirtytwo.com.