On the Line: Collin Thornton Of AVEO Table + Bar, Part One

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know participants from OC Weekly’s upcoming Fresh Toast brunch event. One of the newer faces, Collin Thornton oversees the dining renovation over at the St. Regis in Monarch Beach. A total of five new eateries are in the works, but the focus this week is on AVEO.

Let’s discuss remodeling at St. Regis and the concept of AVEO Table + Bar. 
We will be up and running the first week of March. It’s been an exciting transformation, from vision board to gutted space to the new design. The unbeatable coastal views from AVEO Table + Bar, and the Mediterranean-inspired menu, drawing from the abundance of local seafood and produce available to us, will make it a must for hotel guests and locals.

Who are some of the suppliers you are working with for produce and meats?
We’re lucky to have numerous local vendors and purveyors through distributors and co-ops driving our dishes. Santa Monica Seafood has been a stand-out partner— we’re coordinating with them for our “Daily Fresh Rock Fish” program.

Most undervalued ingredient:

What is your guilty pleasure food?
Stout braised beef shortrib with garlic truffle mash.

Best culinary tip for the home cook.
Invest in proper knives, pots and pans; they’re worth their weight in gold.

One stereotype about your industry, and whether it’s true.
Never trust a chef. I do not know where this came from, but it’s definitely not true. Or is it?

Provide an example of the fresh, approachable cuisine you have planned for AVEO.
“Fresh and Approachable” are the perfect words to describe what AVEO will be. Thanks to being located on the Pacific coast, the menu will have an emphasis on seafood. AVEO will also be known for its unique vegetarian, prime meat and poultry dishes sourced from local California farms.

Is there a dish you’d like to learn how to make?
I’d really like to spend some time learning from a real Southern BBQ master; someone who knows the ins-and-outs of a huge smoking BBQ operation.

Have you discovered any new restaurants since moving to Orange County?
Since I’m new to the area, I’ve received tons of recommendations. But with all of the activity at the resort, I’ve only made it to a few great local spots. I cannot wait to discover more, and have our new restaurants discovered, too.

You’re making breakfast; what are you having?
My Saturday morning go-to is creating a custom hash of what’s in my fridge and topping it off with soft poached eggs.

What’s the one thing people didn’t tell you about working in a restaurant?
How many long lasting friendships and relationships would be forged through the camaraderie of the kitchen and traveling. It’s been truly amazing.

What would be your last meal on Earth?
It honestly would not matter, so long as it was shared with my family.

Are you ready for Fresh Toast? To learn more about next month’s event and purchase tickets, you can find the link here.

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