I’m back with the second installment to Chef Thornton’s interview. When he’s not busy working on those five new dining establishments at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Collin is thinking of ideas for what to serve at our Fresh Toast brunch next month. Plus, he found time to diligently respond to our questions.
There may never be enough hours in the day, but you’ve still got time to catch up on this week’s interview right here.
And then learn more about our athletic musician who happens to cook below.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I still believe in buying my music on vinyl records. With the digital age, I think we’ve lost some of that connection with the artists and what it takes to make records.
What was the turning point in your life when you decided you wanted to be in the hospitality industry?
When my culinary instructor in high school handed me a box of mushrooms and a knife, and showed me what was possible. I was hooked!
Hardest lesson you’ve learned.
Never send an email when you’re upset.
You have a whole day to yourself; what would you do?
Jump on my Harley Davidson Road Glide and head for the hills!
Where did you grow up?
I was born just outside of Toronto in Hamilton, Ontario. I lived in Edmonton, Alberta from age six until I was old enough (or sensible enough to get out of the cold) when I was 22, and moved to the Cayman Islands in pursuit of my career and the sunny beaches.
Describe the differences between living in Toronto versus Southern California.
The stand out for me is that here, in Southern California, I can ride every day. Everyone truly loves living here; it’s so refreshing.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Camping trips with my family and friends.
Last thing you looked up online?
A zumex juicer.
Tell us about your guitar collection.
I’ve recently moved away from electric guitars, and have been paying more attention to the acoustics, as that’s where the majority of songwriting is right now. So much so that I just traded in my 1982 Gibson Les Paul Custom and upgraded my 12 String to smoking Maple Back Taylor.
Have you been on a board (skate, surf, snow) or long bike ride since moving?
I’ve been skating a bunch and tying to get my son back into it with me. I haven’t had a chance to get out to ski yet, and am not brave enough to hit the frigid winter water. I’ll wait for spring for that and a new wetsuit.
What would you like to try if you weren’t in this business?
Art, music or marine biology. My mother recently reminded me that I gave up going to art school to pursue cooking, and my rational for doing so was that I’d always get to be creative and I’d never starve.
Any idea what you’ll be cooking up at Fresh Toast next month?
Tako! Sorry, that’s Hawaiian for octopus, but very fitting. It’s going to be a great octopus dish.
Fresh Toast tickets are still available! Meet Chef Collin and get your brunch on next month by purchasing them here.