Chef Bruno knows his brunch
Chef Bruno knows his brunch
Photo courtesy Back Bay Bistro

On the Line: Bruno Massuger Of Back Bay Bistro

Since Fresh Toast is being held at Newport Dunes, it was only fitting to interview the chef at on site restaurant, Back Bay Bistro. They've also got a few surprises in store to celebrate their 30 year anniversary, but I'll let Chef Bruno explain.

Let's talk about the brunch at Back Bay Bistro.
Saturday Brunch offers lighter fare with signature brunch items and several food stations including pancakes, omelets and carving. Our Sunday Champagne Brunch offers a wide variety of options and has extensive food stations ranging from fresh seafood to pasta, signature breakfast items and even poke and sushi rolls. We are known for our brunch.

Where did you grow up, and where's home these days?
I grew up in Normandie, France and currently live in Costa Mesa.

Most important quality you look for in a sous chef:
Someone whose work can complement my culinary style. And someone that can cook.

Tell us about your guilty pleasure food:
A Restaurant's burger with bacon and French fries.

One stereotype about your industry, and whether it's true.
Everybody thinks the culinary industry is easy and that you can make a lot of money easily. This is false. It takes great effort to succeed and 90% of restaurants fail in their first year.

Is Back Bay Bistro doing anything to celebrate 30 years?
We will be hosting a series of special events throughout the year to commemorate the anniversary and the Bistro's history and growth. We will also be unveiling our own private wine label to celebrate the 30-year milestone.

What should culinary school teach (if anything) that you didn't learn until you worked in restaurants?
Culinary schools do a great job and continue to grow. Practical work experience can always be an opportunity for growth.

What was the turning point in your life when you decided you wanted to be in the hospitality industry?
I always loved family gatherings around our big farmhouse table growing up in France. My mom would make everyone feel so special to be part of our dinners. I wanted to continue that feeling after losing my mom at a young age.

I read that you're a mentor for the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). Could you please elaborate?
I recruited students for CIA for internships. I truly enjoy mentoring young culinary professionals.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Tarragon, as it combines so well with garlic, mushroom and onion.

Your favorite childhood memory:
My favorite childhood memory would be a warm summer day in France with my family. It isn't just one memory or day that made it special; it was the people and, most importantly, the time we shared. Time is the most precious gift. Time to us was the most important thing because we didn't have a lot of money, but we had each other. Sitting around the dinner table with my mom, dad, sister and brother was the best. We would dine for hours on my mom's famous pot roast with roasted potatoes and haricot verts. I can close my eyes and still smell it! I cherish those days and that time with my family. Family is the most important thing. I am a proud father of a wonderful daughter, Celine.

Last thing you looked up online:
French news on Yahoo.

You have a whole day to yourself; what would you do?
On a perfect day off I would go mountain bike riding with my friends. Then, a visit to the produce and meat markets to select the best and freshest ingredients for dinner. Then an evening of cooking and enjoying dinner with a great bottle of wine with friends and family.

Tell us something most people don't know about you.
I enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures, food and wine.

Hardest life lesson you've learned.
How to balance relationships in this business.

What profession would you like to try if you weren't in this business?
Pilot. I like to go fast and travel, so it makes sense!

Do you know what you'll be serving for Fresh Toast?
The Bistro Bloody Mary, mini lox and bagels, blinis with fried chicken and maple syrup.

Back Bay Bistro is located at 1131 Back Bay Drive in Newport Beach. (949) 729-1144;


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