Isabel Cruz might best be described as the queen of West Coast Asian-Latin fusion. The author and restaurateur is a culinary staple in the lives of San Diegans with three popular beachside restaurants, as well as two others in Oregon. While her acclaim has earned her international recognition, even arming her with California’s First Lady Maria Shriver’s “Remarkable Women” award, Cruz still has a handle on her SD roots – and plans to keep it that way.
Her passion for innovation might take her all over the world, but this month Cruz plans to stay at home in San Diego’s North County. Cruz will join three other prominent San Diego female chefs this month as part of the St. Germain’s Bistro & Café “Lady Chef” series, promoting women in the culinary scene. Cruz jumpstarts the campaign by taking over Encinitas’ St. Germain’s restaurant with a menu that highlights Cruz’s signature Latin flavors.
The menus prepared for the quarterly series are in collaboration with St. Germain’s own culinary maven, Kaitlin Ramos, as well as I Love Poke Festival founder Nino Camilo. “It’s all about girl chef bonding,” says Cruz, who will offer the dinner menu Tuesday through Saturdays 5-10pm throughout the month of February.
Working as a chef “is harder than people think,” admits Cruz. Forget what you’ve fantasized from the television chefs you see cooking on a set at Food Network headquarters – working behind the fryer of their own restaurant isn’t as glamorous – and it’s about time someone promoted their efforts. “People don’t realize how physical this job is,” says Cruz. “You need a lot of energy and can’t give up.”
With Cruz’s flavorful cuisine at the helm, St. Germain’s Lady Chef series will capture the appetite of San Diegans. As it stands, the culinary scene in San Diego is already poised to become a national favorite; with promotions like these – and fabulous restaurants from the leading local ladies participating in this event – it won’t be long before more innovators steer toward the city.
St. Germain's Lady Chef dinner series schedule includes:
February - Isabel Cruz, restaurateur, chef and author, Isabel’s Restaurants -
AUGUST: Dawn Parks, Owner and Executive Chef, The Wild Thyme Company-Catering and Events
November - Alvanette Kauwalu, personal chef specializing in Hawaiian and Asian cuisine
Pictured from left to right:
Alvanette Kauwalu, Personal Chef; Kaitlin Ramos, executive chef, St. Germain's Bistro & Cafe; Dawn Parks, owner and executive chef, The Wild Thyme Company-Catering and Events; Kari Rich, owner and executive chef, Food Farm Truck; Isabel Cruz, restaurateur, chef and author, Isabel’s Restaurants.