New Menu at Kitchen 1540

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Chef FortuneThe wait is over for KITCHEN 1540’s era of good Fortune to officially begin. 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 fromExecutive 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.

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.

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 Diegoopentable.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.

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.

So what can diners expect from Fortune’s menu? A few highlights include:

shrimp and grits:Chef’s signature entree 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.

Posted by: Alexis Perry
05/17/14