Entering the well-known Anaheim destination restaurant, Mr. Stox, Great Taste Magazine was engulfed with the feeling of fall in the air as layers of pumpkins and corn decorated the lobby area. Trickling down in to the main dinning room, the mood was set as laughter and conversation were heard in every direction. Guests enjoyed their lunch entrees, sipping on afternoon chardonnays and ice teas, not minding our inquisitive eyes admiring the scene. After receiving a personal tour around the restaurant and its lovely wine cellar, we had the pleasure in sitting down, face to face, with Chef Scott Raczek himself.
The Restaurant: Talking causally with Chef Scott about the restaurant itself and what it means to him, to the guests, and the all the possible futures ahead, we listened intently to each of the aspects and stories he wanted to share; all of which displaying a large smile on his face as he spoke every word, only making everything that much more enjoyable to hear. “I like this restaurant, it has a large format,” as he referred to the ever-changing experience. Filling much of his time with endless wine dinners, parties, events, renovations, and menu creations, Chef Scott is never without a task at hand. Soaking up Mr. Stox’s success, we ask Scott, what worked? What element or key secret helped Mr. Stox to remain a successful mark on the map for so many years? He replies with a smile, “There’s no other Mr. Stox.” Filled with class, Scott prides himself in their array of beautiful china and stemware, up to date wine selection, remodeled dining rooms and kitchen, feeling that ” this is the way to run a restaurant.”
Cooking: With poise and classic style, Chef Scott creates the soul of Mr. Stox, bringing and giving life within its walls and people. His hands attitude never stops him from jumping into the heat, “I cook in this restaurant. I like to do it. I like to touch every fish I cut, even if it’s for sixty people-you gotta feel you are the best cook in the house.” With energy and vibrancy, Scott keeps it going, “cooking is a young mans job and I love it!”
Food: When asked about his dedication to food creations and inspirations, humorously he states, “I don’t like food to be silly or not to make sense together-meaning, too many ingredients, too bazaar or eclectic. Food that doesn’t make sense on the plate or food that just doesn’t taste good; it’s something as simple as taste. You have to have bit appeal and taste.” His secret, ” four ingredients.” Not three and not five: perfectly and eloquently four. To Scott, the balance, the relationship of food plated together and the quality is held together using this magic number.
Wine: Simply put, “everything is associated to wine,” describing his attempts in developing food to match and pull with the wine as well as the wine matching and pulling with the food. His favorite? Contemplating, “oh, I don’t know: ” he admits to a good Pinot any time.
Creating: For Chef Scott, involving his entire team of chefs and kitchen staff is important to him when creating their seasonal and weekly lunch menus, “I try to involve everyone; no matter your position, you can contribute.” With many team members along his side for 10 years and more, Scott’s crew enjoy his open kitchen’ policy, acting as a natural mentor for his team; inviting them to create, teaching them how to work each kitchen station, and wanting them to feel individually important, with each bringing their own talents and ideas to the table, “of course mine are the best [laughing], but no, I try to keep the kitchen open. Stop listening and they shut down. I want to keep the ideas flowing.” From his personal ability, Chef Scott has produced many successful chefs from his kitchen and continues to enjoy doing so.
As Mr. Stox fought to find the perfect fit behind their vision, many past chefs tried to full fill the position, however, never quit measuring up. Though Chef Scott had found himself previously turning down the Marshal Family, eventually, he did accept their offer in creating a new home for him here, “It was a good move and I’ve been here ever since.” Never attending culinary school, Scott was naturally drawn to the life style of a chef. His mentor, Deitrick Hoffman then poised at The Grand Hotel, helped show Scott what being a chef really meant, “he taught me the ethic of hard work-he just kept pushing the heck out of me,” as he laughs over past memories and long hours. Now with 23 years with Mr. Stox under his belt, Chef Scott still sees his future in the restaurant, “it’s a good size fit for me-something I want to take the next 20 years. I think this restaurant will be vibrant in 20 years: I know it will be.” Though Scott may not be leaving Mr. Stox any time soon, that doesn’t mean we have seen or heard the last of him fore Scott is a master of keeping surprises hidden up his sleeves and we look forward to watching them come alive!
CHEF SCOTT RACZEK
AVERAGE NUMBER OF HOURS YOU WORK A WEEK? 60
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST COOKING MEMORY? How happy my Grandmother Monica was in the kitchen and the real scratch cooking she created for the family. It was truly a labor of love she gave to us!
WHAT FIRST INTERESTED YOU IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY? The action of a busy night in a restaurant: the cooks, guest and all how they related to each other. I still get a rush out of it!
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST HOSPITALITY JOB? In a bakery, flipping donuts in a fryer.
IF NOT A CHEF, WHAT WOULD YOU BE? Architect. I like to understand peoples needs for space and how it relates in their life.
FAVORITE KITCHEN GADGET? Wine Opener
MOST RECOMMEND FOOD INGREDIENT SOURCE? Dean and Duluca, Napa
BIGGEST MYTH ABOUT WORKING IN THE KITCHEN? That the Chef cooks every plate: we would be nothing without the staff we surround ourselves with!
FAVORITE DISH TO MAKE? Confits, Risottos, Seafood, Fresh Greens from the garden. Years of culinary education: My Lifetime.
Mr. Stox 1105 East Katella Ave. Anaheim, Ca 92805 714.634.2994 www.mrstox.com
Lunch 11: 30-3: 00pm M-F Dinner Nightly from 5: 30pm
Lemonchello Goat’s Cheese Cake with Drunken Berries 1 1/2 C Sugar 6 Eggs – seperated 1 1/2 lbs. Goat’s Cheese 3 T Lemochello 2 T Light Rum 3 T Unbleached Flour 2 ea. Lemons – zest, grated 1 T Lemon Juice 1/4 C Lemon Juice 2 t Vanilla Extract 1/4 t Kosher Salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray an eight-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom with sugar, shaking out the excess. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and one cup of the sugar until the yolks are very pale. Slowly beat in the goat cheese, 1 cup at a time. Add the rum, flour, lemon zest, and one tablespoon of the lemon juice, the vanilla and salt and beat until creamy. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until foamy. Slowly add two tablespoons of the sugar and continuing until you have a soft peaked meringue. Working in two batches, gently fold the white into the cheese mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a baking dish large enough to contain it comfortably. Pour enough hot water into the backing dish to reach approximately one inch up the sides of the pan. Cover the entire baking dish with aluminum foil and carefully place it on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake begins to rise slightly and is somewhat set in the middle. Remove the foil and bake for an additional ten minutes, or until the cake is completely set. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the baking dish for several minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for one minute, or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove form the hear and set aside to cool. When the cake has cooled slightly, remove the pan from the baking dish. Refrigerate the cake until completely chilled. Remove the sides of the springform pan, and then spoon the lemon syrup over the cake to glaze. Cut into wedges and serve with the drunken berries.
1 pint Raspberries 1 pint Blueberries 1 pint Blackberries 1 C Sweet Vermouth 4 T Sugar 1 T Vanilla
Place the berries, sweet vermouth, sugar and the vanilla into a non-reactive saucepot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce slightly thickens. Remove from the heat and cool completely.