Teaming up chefs with athletes isn't common occurrence unless we're referring to charity events. Yet the pairing of Josh Severson with Teemu Selanne is one winning combination, as they elevate the dining scene in Laguna Beach. Get to know the Greystone graduate today, and stay turned for more on Tuesday.
What kind of influence did Selanne have on the menu and operation?
Initially, Teemu wanted a more casual tavern-style setting. But as we moved forward with the redo, we learned the community was more interested in a mainstream steakhouse. So, we made adjustments on our end and pushed it into a more high-end steakhouse setting. I always ask both Teemu and his wife, Sirpa, if they would like me to feature any Finnish dishes on the menu. Teemu just seems to love his steaks and reindeer sausages.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Eggs Benedict on a fresh croissant, with Nueske's Canadian bacon, avocado, and poached duck eggs.
What is your beverage of choice?
Mac and Jack's African Amber Ale. It's from a small microbrewery in Redmond, Washington. Best beer ever!
One food you can't live without:
Would have to be fresh pasta, with just a simple Bolognese sauce – such a comfort food for me, and was a weekly staple growing up.
Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
I would say the greatest diversity of chefs that I've seen anywhere.
You've worked under some well-respected names in the industry. What words of wisdom have you learned from them?
Tell your team to do something and they will follow you for a day. But teach them to do something, and they'll remember you for a lifetime.
Where was your most recent meal?
I think I snuck in a piece of bread sometime in the Selanne Steak Tavern kitchen this week!?!
Favorite places to eat (besides your own).
The Crow Bar and Kitchen (Corona Del Mar), Cheese Shop (La Jolla), Kansas City Barbeque (San Diego), Red Mill Burgers (Seattle) and Dick's Drive-In (Seattle).
Is there anything you'd like to learn how to make?
French Breads. I love the taste, the aroma and the crust and texture of a perfectly baked French loaf. And, of course, the pleasures of a great croissant.
Favorite meal growing up:
Fresh-caught Dungeness crab cooked in seawater.
Most undervalued ingredient:
How does working in a resort environment (St. Regis, La Costa) differ from a standard restaurant?
At resorts, a chef usually needs to oversee multiple events at multiple venues all at the same time, so your attention is stretched– which can lead to minor mishaps. In a standard restaurant, the focus is more on the food and, more importantly, on the customer.
Your best recent food find:
Le Parfait Paris, for brunch/breakfast in San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, where I had perfect croissants and eggs Benedict.
Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
For a bachelorette party at Craft Las Vegas, the bride-to-be wanted the chef to serve their food tableside wearing only an apron! We three chefs drew straws for the honor. Needless to say, the chef who "won" is now divorced.