This fall, Marina del Rey’s iconic waterfront restaurant Cafe del Rey welcomes new executive chef Chuck Abair. With more than 10 years of culinary experience, Abair emphasizes the interplay of local ingredients and sustainable seafood, a philosophy he honed at L.A.’s Michelin star restaurant, Providence. He brings to the position a belief in simple and honest ingredients to create dishes with perfectly balanced elements.
At Cafe del Rey, his new Mediterranean-inspired autumn menus—for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch—showcase root vegetable dishes like Sweet Potato Gnocchi with roasted squash, baby kale, and thyme; and Lamb Osso Buco cooked with Madeira, Roma tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and fresh herbs served with brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and pine nut gremolata. His menu utilizes ingredients from local artisans and farmers such as Scarborough Farms, and he sources seafood daily from purveyors at the nearby Marina del Rey docks.
“This fall, I am experimenting with root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, and parsnips. Roasting really brings out all the sweetness and transforms simple produce,” says Abair. Cafe del Rey’s seasonally driven starters, raw-bar items, and main entrées also include:
- Yam Soup with chili oil and toasted pumpkin seeds
- Sea Scallops with parsnips, fava beans, Basque chorizo, cherry tomato, mixed mushrooms, and basil oil
- Salmon with red chard and butternut squash, finished with sage, brown butter, and balsamic
Abair earned his degree in culinary arts from the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles. After cooking at some of the finest restaurants across the city including Water Grill, Providence, and Anisette, Abair joined the team at Cafe del Rey in 2011 as the chef de cuisine, working alongside former executive chef Daniel Roberts. He accepted a position with Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro and now returns to the iconic restaurant to assume the role of executive chef.