Justin Miller is now Chef de Cuisine of Pizzeria Ortica

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Born and raised in Orange County, Justin Miller’s Southern California roots have instilled in him a sense of community and a relaxed approach to cooking. From classic French to an American steakhouse to large-scale catering, Miller’s experience and cuisine style have run the gamut. However, with an upbringing and philosophy that leans towards home-style, rustic food for the family, Miller has finally found his stride in simple Italian cookery.A graduate of The Art Institute of California – Orange County in 2006 with an Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts, Miller’s career path harkens back to joyful memories of his mother, an accomplished home cook who never failed to produce a nightly meal from scratch. Little did Miller know that these memories, along with the early epiphany that he would one day have to cook for himself, would lead him to a robust career in the culinary world.

Miller’s youth in Orange County and Hawaii, immersed in the beach culture of both places, instilled in him a relaxed and happy attitude toward food and cooking. He began his career as a Banquet Cook at the famed Balboa Bay Club and Resort in Newport Beach, followed by a rather interesting stint as the Chef of the Quicksilver Crossing, a surf-exploration cruise ship that transported professional surfers from San Diego to Panama on a three-month hunt for America’s best waves. After returning ashore, Miller served as a Line Cook at Mastro’s Steakhouse in Santa Ana, then as the Sous Chef of Dolce restaurant in Newport Beach, where he was quickly promoted in November 2007 to Executive Chef. Prior to joining the David Myers Group, Miller served as Chef De Partie at Creme De La Creme Catering in Orange County, where he effortlessly executed everything from intimate dinners to large-scale events.

Miller’s transition back to restaurants, with an opening position as Line Cook at Pizzeria Ortica under acclaimed Chef David Myers, has led him full-circle back to the heart of rustic Italian cuisine and the no-fuss thrills of cooking in all wood. Within a year of Pizzeria Ortica’s opening in 2009, Miller was promoted to Chef de Cuisine. Miller’s immediate success under Chef Myers stems from true dedication and an innate understanding of the spirit of the cuisine: instill a sense of authenticity, of comfort and of the neighborhood to create a truly great meal.

An avid outdoorsman, Miller enjoys surfing, wind surfing, skateboarding, camping and fly fishing in his off hours. Miller lives in Newport Beach.

Posted 6/3/10.