New Vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio Highlights Restaurant’s Edible Garden

Executive Chef Craig Strong places spotlight on vegetables at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach


Known for presenting extraordinary seasonal tasting menus, Executive Chef Craig Strong has introduced a new vegetarian Tasting Menu at Studio at Montage Laguna Beach. The new tasting menu, now offered at the Laguna Beach waterfront restaurant, highlights the restaurant’s 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden with dishes that play on classic French specialties made vegetarian.

“This new tasting menu highlights vegetables at the center of the plate with twists on classics, like Pot‘ato’-au-Feu, a take on the traditional Pot-au-Feu beef stew, and Crimson Beet Tartare, my take on a traditional steak tartare, with a golden beet ‘yolk’ in place of the expected raw egg yolk,” explains Chef Strong, who is known for his modern French cuisine with California influences. “I believe that we ‘eat’ with our eyes and noses long before we taste anything, and this menu allows my guests to do just that with nature’s bounty.”

Studio’s Vegetarian Tasting Menu currently includes the following dishes:

Studio Vegetarian Dish 2
Crimson Beet Tartare

CRIMSON BEET TARTARE – golden beet “yolk,” horseradish crème fraîche
Roasted red beets are chopped to create this tartare, and topped with a golden beet “yolk.” The tartare is dressed with a ring of horseradish crème fraiche and garnished with micro herbs and edible viola flowers.
Contains: Dairy

CRISPY RICE PAELLA – bouquet tiny vegetables, romesco sauce

Studio Vegetarian Dish 1
Crispy Rice Paella

Crispy risotto rice is cooked in vegetable stock with sofrito and saffron, finished with grated cheese, then sautéed until golden brown and served with a bouquet of tiny vegetables atop romesco sauce. The dish is garnished with tiny sorrel.
Contains: Nuts, Dairy, and Gluten

CELERINI ALFREDO – celery root noodles, garlic cream, brown butter crumble, black truffles

Studio Vegetarian Celery Root Alfredo
Celerini Alfredo

Fettuccini ribbons are created with celery root and served in celery cream sauce. The dish is topped with brown butter crumble and is garnished with black truffles, snowflake celery, and borage flowers.
Contains: Dairy

POT“ATO”-AU-FEU – potato variation, brussels sprouts leaves, mushrooms, roasted vegetable broth
Pot“ato”-au-Feu is made up of potato croquette, potato cup, potato mousseline, and potato gaufrette. The potato variation is served with leeks and finished with roasted vegetable broth poured tableside.
Contains: Dairy, Eggs, Gluten, and Alcohol

FLEUR DU MAQUIS – ratatouille, arugula
Fleur de Maquis strikes a delicate balance with ratatouille and arugula arranged artistically on plate.
Contains: Dairy

A decadent ending to the meal with pure pistachio ice cream, pistachio whipped ganache, dried French meringue, candied pistachios rolled in chocolate, lightly set crème Chantilly, pure pistachio paste and lemon marmalade.
Contains: Dairy, Nuts and Eggs

“This is a great menu for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, alike,” commented Chef Strong, whose family garden of zucchini and tomatoes first inspired him to experiment in the kitchen as a child. “Diners who are looking to explore the best seasonal and local produce will find adventure in this menu.”

Studio is located at Montage Laguna Beach (30801 South Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA 92651). Dining reservations can be made by calling (949) 715-6420. For more information, please visit

About Chef Craig Strong

Studio Chef Craig Strong
Chef Craig Strong

Chef Craig Strong joined Montage Laguna Beach as Executive Chef of Studio in June 2009. Chef Strong, known for his modern French cuisine with California influences, developed a love for cooking at an early age. One of eight children growing up in San Diego, he was inspired by his mother and grandmother to first experiment with tomatoes and zucchini grown in the family’s vegetable garden that was his to manage. At age 19, he attended L’Academie de Cuisine near Washington, D.C., where he studied under some of the most respected chefs in the area, including Chefs Françoise and Pascal Dionet.

Prior to joining Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, Chef Strong was Chef de Cuisine to what is now The Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa’s Dining Room in Pasadena, Calif. During his eight-year tenure, he was responsible for all facets of the restaurant, including menu design and development. Under his direction, The Dining Room became one of Los Angeles’ top destination dining venues and a showcase for his love of pairing fine food with wine in ever-changing dishes, inventive tasting menus for winemaker dinners and delicious special events. He and the restaurant received many accolades, including Michelin One-star ratings in 2007and 2008; Gourmet Magazine “60 World’s Best Hotel Dining Rooms,” Los Angeles Times 3 Star Rating, Food & Wine “50 Best Hotel Restaurants” and Forbes Five Star in 2009.

From 1990 to 1994, Chef Strong held numerous culinary positions, including Saucier at La Caille in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah; the Capitol Club at Hyatt Regency, Washington, D.C.; Sous Chef at the fine dining Glitretind Restaurant at Stein Erikson Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah; First Assistant to Chef at the Adams Mark Hotel in Philadelphia, and then at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, where he honed classic techniques with Asian influences. In 1995, he moved to Atlanta to work at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, as Garde Manger with Chef Guenter Seeger and then as Saucier and Tournant with Chef Joel Antunes, whose classically trained French background added yet another international dimension to Strong’s style.

Chef Strong then moved to Europe as Sous Chef for The Newport Room at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, the fine dining restaurant in a property managed by Ritz-Carlton. Working in Spain added another facet to Chef Strong’s cooking. The emphasis on olive oil, fresh seafood and the Mediterranean climate, similar to that of Southern California, led Chef Strong to embrace the bold flavors and rustic style of Spanish cuisine, adding the refinement of French techniques.

The concept and overall experience of Studio is dedicated to highlighting the best this idyllic location has to offer – pristine ingredients from local purveyors, unsurpassed views of the Pacific Ocean and an elegantly comfortable approach to the dining experience.

Studio has been recognized with Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide, Three Stars from Los Angeles Times, Robb Report as one of “America’s Finest Dining Restaurants,” and Food & Wine Magazine’s “Top 50 Hotel Restaurants.” Studio has also earned the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and is rated one of Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants.”

About Studio
Inspired by the enduring creative spirit of the artists who settled in Laguna Beach nearly a century ago, Studio at Montage Laguna Beach views food as a serious art form. Executive Chef Craig Strong highlights his Modern French Cuisine with California Influences on an ever-changing tasting menu featuring daily-caught seafood; farm-raised meats and game; and always fresh, artisanal ingredients.

Studio is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is located at Montage Laguna Beach (30801 South Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA 92651). Dining reservations can be made by calling (949) 715-6420.

About Montage Laguna Beach
Montage, set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific in the heart of the vibrant arts community of Laguna Beach, offers 30 acres of oceanfront luxury. The 248-room craftsman-style resort features beachfront accommodations; a 20,000-square-foot spa; destination dining at Studio; a wealth of outdoor recreation, including three pools, beach and water sports; a fine art collection; and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. For information and reservations, please contact Montage, toll-free, at ‪1-888-715-6700; or visit the Web site at

About Montage Hotels & Resorts
Montage Hotels & Resorts is a hotel and resort management company founded by Alan J. Fuerstman. Designed to serve the luxury traveler and homeowner, the company features an artistic collection of distinctive hotels, resorts and residences in stunning settings that offer comfortable elegance, a unique sense of place and spirit, impeccable hospitality and memorable culinary, spa and lifestyle experiences. The portfolio of hotels, resorts and residences includes Montage Laguna Beach, Montage Beverly Hills, Montage Deer Valley, Montage Kapalua Bay, Montage Palmetto Bluff, and opening in 2018, Montage Los Cabos. In 2014, the company launched Pendry Hotels, a new luxury brand that will be each destination’s most inspired guest house. Pendry San Diego will open late fall 2016 and Sagamore Pendry Baltimore will open early 2017. In addition, the company also operates some of the country’s premiere golf courses, including Spanish Peaks Mountain Club in Big Sky, Montana and The May River Golf Club in Bluffton, South Carolina. For more information, please visit

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