"Food and cooking are entertaining. People listen when I tell them a story about food."
Currently, Pascal is mentoring a number of chefs: At French 75 in Laguna Beach, his chef is Greg Moore, and at Savannah Chop House it's Chris Tzorin. They plan to brand ourselves as the 'Master Chef and Young Chefs', "They are a new generation of chefs with edginess, but my edginess is in my confidence." The trio has already started doing events.
Chef's goal is to one day create a local organization of chefs. He referenced Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub, mentioning it would be great to work with him on it. In addition, Pascal hinted at the possibility of one day having a small venue where he could cook for patrons who missed Tradition.
Read our interview with Pascal Olhats, Part One.
And now, on to Part Two. . . .
When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
I like to garden, paint or walk my dog, Joe [Editor's Note: His pooch is a 45-pound, black and white Cocker Spaniel. His full name is Joe Cocker, like the singer. Pascal said his dog rocks.]. We love taking him to Huntington's Dog Beach. He loves food. If he could sit at the dinner table, he would. He's my "sous chef" at home, because he sits below me when I cook.
Last song playing on your radio/smart phone/iPod:
Persian lounge music, Buddha Bar or Hotel Costes.
Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here?
I grew up in Normandy. I like to travel, and ended up in OC visiting a friend.
Why plant roots in California?
Things move fast here. Also, I like the climate. If you have a successful business, why not?
Hardest lesson you've learned:
People give back more if you treat them well.
What's your favorite childhood memory?
Going fishing with my family.
Are you superstitious?
I am not superstitious, but I like ethnic symbols like Asian, Japanese, Buddhist and Hawaiian charms. I really like all of these things because there is some meaning behind them.
What were you up to five years ago?
Five years ago was great. Everyone was living the high-life just before the recession, traveling, drinking, having a great time. It was easier than now.
I like The Untouchables because it is a perfect image of human friendship. I also like Midnight in Paris because your past culture is always in the present.
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Last thing you looked up/searched online:
Where can I find locally made olive oil?
Do you have any skills that are non-food related?
Yes, I am good at taking pictures and I'm also a good fixer like MacGyver. In my job, things always break down in the restaurant, and it's always better to fix it than call somebody. At home, I fix drains. I just fixed the air conditioning.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
Maybe a farmer.
Before we forget, CONGRATULATIONS to Pascal for French 75 being awarded Best French Restaurant by LA Times readers!