New Executive Chef Brandon Fortune Makes Menu Debut This Month
Beginning this month, diners at this popular restaurant at L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts, will be able to experience the highly anticipated new menu from Executive Chef Brandon Fortune. Modern American with an upscale Southern influence, the new menu is a lot like Fortune himself: progressive, upbeat and energetic with strong ties to the past and personal passions.
“The menu I’ve created for KITCHEN 1540 is a reflection of who I am as a person, as well as a culinarian. I tend to cherish the past and key moments in history, fashion, music and entertainment, all while embracing the present and what technology has provided us in modern culture,” says Fortune.
A self-described “guys, guy” who loves football, golf and stock car racing, Fortune embraced cooking at a young age and often impressed girls, friends and their parents with his delicious French Toast while growing up. A native of the Southeast, Fortune not only credits his family, but also the accessibility of celebrity chefs, particularly the original Iron Chefs, for influencing his career path.
“For my generation, cooking became cool because of the mass media,” said Fortune. “Chefs were my role models and inspired me to dream big. Our predecessors laid an incredible foundation of creativity for us, the new breed, to build upon.”
(Courtesy photo)Classically trained at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Fortune honed his culinary skills in five-star resorts including Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta and The Grand Del Mar in San Diego. He briefly owned his own tapas restaurant in La Jolla, Calif. called Aquamoree, which was quickly named a top American restaurant by San Diego opentable.com.
While working in the kitchen, Fortune describes himself as a bit of a study in contradictions. He is high energy, quirky, social and known to pull a prank or two. At the same time, his approach is very meticulous and businesslike.
“My management style is based on the memorable qualities of sports coaches I had growing up,” he says. “With as much time that we spend together, the kitchen needs to be fun, but I also want to get better every day.”
For Fortune, creativity is often inspired by a particular music (he’s been known as the human jukebox), as well as seasonal ingredients. He is an enthusiastic supporter of sustainability and supporting local farmers and products. All of his dishes artfully display his selectively-sourced, high quality ingredients in ways that are both exciting and comfortable.
“My goal is to present a simplified, balanced, approachable yet sexy dining experience that doesn’t leave guests confused. The menu should provide just enough of an understanding to entice curiosity on some dishes, and a distinct desire to indulge in others,” he says.
So what can diners expect from Fortune’s menu? A few highlights include:
shrimp and grits: Chef’s signature entrée made in a traditional style using organic heirloom grains and a roasted corn and chorizo crème. Chef claims that this is the dish that he wooed his wife with….
“all kale caesar”: Using greens from Go Green Agriculture, this salad includes a black garlic brioche and a creamy “broken” oil vinaigrette made with grilled lemons and smoked egg yolk.
cold-smoked trout + organic beets: Steelhead saltwater trout cured in salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, zest, and juniper, then cold smoked with skin on using one of chef’s current favorite kitchen utensils, the smoking gun. The dish is served with picked greens of flat leaf parsley, hearts of fire and micro citrus mix, and a whipped cheese made from Point Reyes Blue cheese and crème fraiche.
asparagus + grilled wild ramps: Described by chef as “spring on a plate,” this vegetarian dish features wild ramps from Mikuni Wild Harvest that are grilled to order and Santa Barbara asparagus with parmesan and pecorino shaved on top. The vegetables area accompanied by a French egg-based sauce made with lemon and lightly toasted caraway seeds.
chicken ‘n’ dumplins: Inspired by a recipe from Fortune’s grandmother, this is a present day twist on a nostalgic dish. The dish includes a confit thigh, puffed biscuit rolled in panko crumbs and fried to order, spring carrots from Chino Farms and a Thai-inspired coconut curry gravy.
curried pork cheek “gumbo”: Equal part Southern and Middle Eastern, this dish features sous vide pork cheeks, crispy okra, basmati rice, cucumber yogurt and house-made grilled naan.
For a complete menu, visit www.laubergedelmar.com. Reservations can be made at 858-793-6460.
About KITCHEN 1540
Modern and comfortable, KITCHEN 1540 blends energy and intrigue with a fresh, simple atmosphere. Inspired by New York architect Andre Kikoski, KITCHEN 1540 boasts white vaulted ceilings, an elegant fireplace and modern furniture offering a level of contemporary-chic sophistication rarely seen in a hotel restaurant. The inviting wine bar, with 24-bottle Cruvinet, doubles as a dining counter providing an intriguing glimpse into the energy and excitement of the open kitchen activity, while the private dining room wrapped in wine-encased walls provides a quieter, more intimate setting. The spacious outdoor patio allows guests to enjoy the ocean breezes and features private cabanas for intimate dining. The setting is punctuated with a waterfall and hanging lanterns to set just the right mood.
KITCHEN 1540 has garnered numerous awards including such prestigious honors as Wine Spectator Magazine: Award of Excellence; CA Restaurant Association: Gold Medallion – Best Hotel Restaurant, Fine Dining; San Diego Magazine: Best Hotel Restaurant; and Ranch & Coast Magazine: Editor’s Pick for Best Restaurant.
About L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts
Located in the heart of Southern California’s most picturesque coastal village of Del Mar, L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts, overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers a resort experience reminiscent of a private, coastal estate. This historic seaside hotel offers 120 guest rooms and suites, refreshing dining options, a cheerful and cozy spa, a private path to the beach and peaceful pool area. The award-winning, signature restaurant, KITCHEN 1540, blends energy and intrigue with a fresh, lively atmosphere. The restaurant’s extensive offerings meld the classic and the unexpected, making KITCHEN 1540 something one simply has to try when dining in Del Mar. For more information, please visit www.laubergedelmar.com or www.destinationhotels.com.
About Destination Hotels & Resorts
Destination Hotels & Resorts is an authentic collection of luxury and upscale independent hotels and resorts across North America. Offering enriching, locally-inspired experiences from alpine adventures and stunning beachfronts to urban landmarks, each property reflects the natural surroundings and culture of its distinctive locale. With more than 40 properties in premier travel destinations, including Aspen, Chicago, Denver, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, Maui, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Fe, Seattle, Vail and Washington D.C., the award-winning portfolio features renowned golf courses, indigenous spas, and exceptional culinary venues. For more information on Destination Hotels & Resorts, visit www.destinationhotels.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Destination. Like us on Facebook: DestinationHotels.