Chef Arthur Gonzalez

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Spring 2009
Chef Arthur Gonzalez

A recent fire at McKenna’s on the Bay has expanded Chef Art’s ability to create innovative menus while re-developing the restaurant’s back-of-house operations. The Long Beach establishment was forced to evacuate in March due to an exhaust systems fire leaving employees out of work for over a month. Chef Art Gonzalez has utilized this time to reflect on his career and the future of McKenna’s amidst the necessary reconstruction planning underway; Art has had to become a key contributor in negotiating with contractors and insurance professionals. Ver la version espanola del arti­culo.

Originating in Cerritos, Art’s diverse German-Mexican household showcased a broad range of cuisines and techniques. He continuously reverts to childhood memories of following his mother and grandmother around the house while they prepared daylong meals, retaining as many techniques as possible. Cooking has always been a passion for Chef Art, but he never really thought he would turn to the culinary industry as a profession. With dreams of becoming a firefighter dashed by injury, Art began his culinary journey as a dishwasher at Spaghettini. Though he was just in the dish pit, he knew that the kitchen was his true calling in life.

Following two and a half years at Spaghettini, Art moved onto Mahe and eventually the Hyatt New Mexico where he met mentor Chef Hans Sevlin and began developing his personal Asian infused techniques. As much as he learned while working at the Hyatt, Chef Art didn’t love the mass quantity cooking style the hotel culinary industry brought. He quickly became friends with the concierge of the Hyatt, who sent him to Santa Fe and introduced him to Eric Desteffano owner of restaurant Geroinomo. Eric and Art hit it off immediately and Chef Art was offered a Chef De Cuisine position- a dream come true. It was here his passion for European cooking was ignited.

Art helped Eric with two other restaurants in Santa Fe until he moved to Scottsdale to work at the Boulders Resort. He was not in Scottsdale very long before he realized that he missed New Mexico. He missed the farmers market, heavy Spanish influences and small town population. The locals, fresh ingredients and the atmosphere just weren’t the same in Scottsdale, so he returned to New Mexico and continued working in small boutique hotels as an independent chef.

Foreseeing an industry-wide revolution and a local industry revitalization, Art migrated back to Southern California where he joined McKenna’s with a goal of creating delicious, clean and simple food. Art knows that “Quality makes a world of difference, and the taste that you achieve from using great ingredients will change how people perceive food coming out of the kitchen.” When he first arrived at McKenna’s his first project was to adapt the already existing six-page menu. It was a struggle to try and convince people that less is more! Chef Art works hard, loves what he does and wants to have people from all over to come experience the food he serves making McKenna’s not just a restaurant but a destination. Chef Art recently hosted a fantastic wine dinner for the first time at McKenna’s that received a lot of attention and great feedback from local industry professionals. He has also stirred up a local crowd of fans who come in to eat his food regularly (sometimes even multiple times in one week), trusting him to create a delicious meal especially for them!

The career transitions that Chef Art has endured over the years have given him the opportunity to explore cuisine and gain hands-on experience in the restaurant industry enhancing his passion and fueling his drive to keep striving for the best.

Upon McKenna’s re-opening, Chef Gonzalez hopes to welcome guests back with a night of drinks and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate great people and great food with Great Taste.

Executive Chef Arthur Gonzalez
WHAT THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOUR CULINARY STYLE? Seasonal Global Cuisine

ANNIVERSARY WITH THE RESTAURANT? Sept. 2007

RESTAURANT’S ANNIVERSARY? May 2004

AVERAGE HOURS YOU WORK IN A WEEK? 70 hours

FIRST FOOD RELATED MEMORY? Cooking with both of my grandmothers from Mexico and Germany.

FIRST JOB? Fire Fighter

WHAT FIRST INTERESTED YOU IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY? The love of cooking

FIRST HOSPITALITY JOB? Spaghettini

IF NOT A CHEF WHAT WOULD YOU BE? Fire Fighter

FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGET OR TOOL? Immersion Circulator

FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE? My wood grill

FAVORITE TYPE OF COOKWARE? French Saute Pan

FAVORITE CONDIMENT/ SPICE? New Mexico chili’s, truffles, meyer lemon , sambal

MOST RECOMMENDED KITCHEN TOOL AND SOURCE (ONLINE OR RETAIL SHOP)? A sharp knife, Chefs’ Toys.

MOST RECOMMENDED FOOD INGREDIENT SOURCE (ONLINE OR RETAIL STORE) FOR FOODIES? Terra spice company – www.terraspicecompany.com

BIGGEST MYTH ABOUT WORKING IN THE KITCHEN? Straight out of culinary school kids think they are the next celebrity chef (Emeril)

SIGNATURE OR FAVORITE DISH TO MAKE? Spatzel, anything braised

OTHER CUISINES WORKED WITH? French, Asian, Southwestern, South American, German

HOBBIES? Hiking with my dogs, music, traveling

FAMILY INFO? 2 kids, beautiful Girlfriend

FAVORITE OC RESTAURANT? Sea Food Cove, Empanadas Place

FAVORITE DISH TO EAT Pork Belly

FAVORITE JUNK FOOD Frito pie

FAVORITE RAW INGREDIENT any type of chili

FAVORITE FAST FOOD Bert’s burger bowl (Santa Fe, NM)

WHICH WATCH FOOD TV PROGRAMS ARE YOUR FAVORITESNo Reservations, Top Chef, Travel Channel

FAMOUS CHEFS YOU’VE MET Jose Andres, Sue Millikan, Roy Yamaguchi

CULINARY HERO (ES) Eric DiStefano, my Mom

WHAT OTHER PUBLICATIONS HAVE YOU BEEN FEATURED IN? Long Beach Magazine, Albuquerque the Magazine, Local Flavor (Santa Fe, NM.) The District

YEARS OF CULINARY EDUCATION – 0

PLACES TRAVELED TO EXPLORE & LEARN ADDITIONAL CUISINES Southwest, Europe, Mexico

YEARS IN BUSINESS – BOH 9

PREVIOUS INDUSTRY EMPLOYERS Spaghettini, Mahe, Hyatt, Geronimo

CHARITY AFFILIATION(S) Dining Out for Life, Project Seek, Jewels of the Night, and Cooking for a Cause.

McKennas on the Bay
190 Marina Dr.
Long Beach, CA 90803
www.mckennasonthebay.com

RESTAURANTS HOURS:
Mon -Thurs11:30am – 10:00pm
Fri -Sat. 11:00am – 11:00pm
Sun. 11:00am – 10:00pm

CRISPY SZECHUAN BEEF
Braised Beef

2 Pieceschuck flat or (8) short ribs
3 Cburgundy wine
2 Csoy sauce
1 Cbrown sugar
4 Sprigsrosemary – roughly chopped
4 Fingersginger – roughly chopped
2 TGarlic – finely chopped

Combine last 6 ingredients

Place beef in a non-reactive container

Let marinade overnight

Heat some oil in a large stock pot

Brown chuck flat on all sides, add the marinade

Bring to a soft boil, skim off impurities

Cover and braise for about 4 hrs.

Meat should be fork tender

Szechuan Pepper Sauce

2 CHoisin Sauce
2 COyster Sauce
1/2 CSuperfine Sugar
2 TGinger – finely chopped
2 TToasted Szechuan Peppercorns

Combine all Ingredients in a blender and combine

Tempura Batter

1Egg
1 CIce Water
1 CA.P. Flour – sifted

Beat egg, slowly add ice water

Add sifted flower, mix lightly.

Be Careful not to over mix.

Sambal Pickled Savoy Cabbage

1 HeadSavoy Cabbage
1Carrot – julienned
1/2 CSambal Oelek
1 TFish sauce
1/4 CMirin
2 TSugar
1 TGinger – finely chopped

Finely chop cabbage, combine with carrots

Combine last 5 ingredients

Marinade cabbage for at least 30 minutes before serving

Instructions for Plate Up

Have fryer oil ready at 350

Cut short rib into 4 – 1/4″ thick slices

Dip into seasoned A.P. flour then into Tempura Batter

Fry until golden brown

Toss ribs in Sauce to coat

Plate Beef and garnish with roasted cashews and chili threads

Add a spoon full of the pickled cabbage to the plate.

Drizzle with chili oil

 

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