Culinary Stylemaker: Chris Idso, Pacifica Del Mar
Dec 30th 2010 8:00AM / by Nanette Wiser
San Diego native Chris Idso honed his knife cooking with his Filipino grandmother. It was love at first bite, and after working in the Marriott
kitchens, he relocated to Las Vegas to pursue his culinary dreams. A graduate of San Francisco's California Culinary Academy, Idso worked with Hawaiian
fusion king Roy Yamaguchi and his mentor, David Abella, becoming executive chef of Roy's La Jolla in 2002. "Food to me is a part of living and wellness, nurturing
your body to give energy for life and to delight the senses with abundant flavors," says Idso, now Pacifica Del Mar's chef/partner, who takes pride in his list of more than 75
vodkas, his raw fish and shellfish, and his Pacific fusion cuisine.
What's happening on our culinary scene?
It's becoming very progressive, with lots of new, young chefs doing different takes on modern cuisine, including molecular gastronomy and farm to
table. Unlike the rest of the U.S., in San Diego you can get everything fresh within a two-hour radius, such as Carlsbad's oysters and clams, Catalina
Seafood's uni and spiny lobster, and Chino's produce.
Both locally and nationally, I see comfort food, slow food and going "old school Asian," especially dishes that were popular in the late '70s, such as
What tickles your palate these days?
I eat anything and everything and am always trying different cuisines: Japanese, Italian, French, and right now, I'm passionate about Vietnamese food
(bahn mi sandwiches, pho), Korean and Spanish, because they are pioneering new modern cuisine.
What are your favorite foodie spots in town?
I like the short ribs and prawns at Nine Ten, the foie gras with pop rocks, liquid nitrogen ice cream station at Kitchen 1540, and when you can get it, blue fin toro and Batera sushi at Sushi Ota. Comfort foods like bone marrow,
macaroni and cheese at The Pearl are good, and when I'm drinking, Ketel 7 with lime at The Office or
beer and a good burger at Rocky's.
Where do you like to shop?
Chino Farms, whatever is the most beautiful in season. Right now I like to find kabocha squash, celery root, and sunchokes.
Where do you get your culinary inspirations?
Reading about restaurants in cities overseas in elBulli and Alinea, as well as jaunts to San Francisco, Chicago and New York, with
Tokyo [being] one of my favorite cities to dine in. I admire Heston Blumenthal, Joel Robuchon, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse and Nobu Matsuhisa. Apicius is my favorite go-to cookbook.
What's up and coming at Pacifica Del Mar in 2011?
I look forward to hosting more wine dinners to exhibit our extensive wine selection and great seafood cuisine.
Pacifica Del Mar , 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar; 858-792-0476
Quick Guide to Idso's Faves
Nine Ten , 910 Prospect St., La Jolla; 858-964-5400
Kitchen 1540 , L'Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar; 858-793-6460
The Office Bar , 3936 30th St., North Park; 619-450-6632
The Pearl , 2010 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar; 858-259-0176
Rocky's , 3786 Ingraham St., Pacific Beach; 858-273-9140
Sushi Ota , 4529 Mission Bay Drive, Pacific Beach; 858-270-5670