Boasting a view of the beautiful La Jolla Cove, one of the best places to dine at La Valencia Hotel is on the terrace at sunset. “We are having fun,” says new executive chef Daniel Barron. “Our ambiance is California classy and always evolving.”
Chef Barron is responsible for all food outlets in the hotel, including The Med, the upcoming restaurant Cafe La Rue, the La Sala Lounge, banquets, and the pool program. “We are doing a lot of renovations restoring this beautiful hotel to her former glory, and they are coming along quickly,” he says.
With many new suppliers, and an entirely new team by his side running the day to day operations, chef Barron says everything is changing at La Valencia. “At present, we transform the menu every few weeks as things from the market come in and out of season,” he says. “We’ve re-invented the menu from top to bottom.”
Using sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible, chef Barron says he puts every effort into sourcing the very best produce, including seafood and meats (90% of his produce is from local farms). “We actually just established an exclusive partnership for a particular breed of chicken that a local farm will raise for us only,” explains Barron. “They should be ready in a couple of months.”
Not known for cooking especially healthy, chef Barron offers healthier options, satisfied with the fact that his products are natural and free from hormones and pesticides. “There is something to be said for that,” he says. “What good comes out of eating low calorie food if it’s loaded with unhealthy ingredients?”
Chef Barron’s creativity and ability to balance flavors that traditionally would not be ‘combined together’ is quickly gaining popularity and respect in San Diego’s dining scene. “We are constantly researching about flavors and reactions,” he explains. “It’s a process that starts everyday in the early morning and ends on our dinner china.”
When asked what he likes best about being a chef, Barron says, “There are very few jobs where what you produce can directly effect the emotions of another person. In other words, I LOVE the fact that what I put on a plate can bring a smile to somebody’s face. It is, and always has been, the best part of my job and life!”
Some “sinful foods” chef Barron enjoys in moderation include the Pork Sandwich and Poutine from Carnitas Snack Shack. “It’s my day off lunch because I generally need a nap afterward,” he says jokingly.
Enjoy Recipes from Carnitas Snack Shack in my new book, San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City.
La Valencia Hotel
1132 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037