Pandee Pearson is the executive chef at Adelina's Bistro, a gourmet restaurant that will open in the Monarch Club at Trilogy Central Coast. //Bryan Walton/Staff
"I reprint the menu every single day because things are in or out of season," Pearson
explained as she
relaxed on the deck outside the Trilogy Tour Center
overlooking the Monarch Dunes Golf Course
"I may keep the lamb but change what I'm serving with it," she
continued."If you have the same menu all the time, you serve something whether it's really good or really not."
For example, she
said, some restaurants may have salmon on the menu, and maybe the salmon isn't good on a particular day.
"If the salmon's not good, I won't serve it," she
said."I'm like a market-driven person."
carefully selects her
meats from those who raise animals in more natural environments and without using antibiotics and other drugs.
But "fresh" may be the word that best characterizes her
"I focus on using really high-quality products," she
explained that the same sauce would be split up three ways, each batch altered to create Cajun-style shrimp, saffron steamed mussels and steamed clams in a spicy tomato broth.
"I want to show them how the same basic white wine reduction sauce can be used to create entirely different dishes," she
said, adding she
hopes to give cooking classes not only for club members but also the general public.
A bounty of experiencePearson
has plenty of knowledge to offer.A native of Ventura, she
trained at the California Culinary Academy
in San Francisco, graduating in 1988.Her
first job was at the well-known Mustards Grill in the Napa Valley, where she
was steeped in the tradition of using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
In 1990, she
opened Eureka in Los Angeles with Wolfgang Puck and, in 1993, Rox in Beverly Hills.She also worked at Puck's Granita in Malibu, as well as Restaurant Lulu in San Francisco.
"I started at Wolf's Eureka as the lowest person on the line.I worked my way up through every station," she
said."I learned a lot because it was very busy and it had really high-quality food."
When not in the kitchen, Pearson
spends time traveling with a group of friends , who are also chefs and "foodies" , to France, Italy and Mexico, as well as around the United States.
Wherever they go, she
said, they soak up the food, wine and art of the area, and she
generally returns with recipes from the locals, as well as more cookbooks to add to her
collection , which now numbers about 500.
"I try to pick up things that local people do, not what the professional people do," she
said."You really learn how someone's grandmother cooks, and that's how you learn about the local foods."Pearson spent the past five years as executive chef at Morro Bay's Windows on the Water, a 140-seat restaurant known for high quality and innovation.
But now, at 50, she's
anxious to open Adelina's Bistro
, which she
describes as "an out-of-the-box, different type of restaurant."It will seat about 40 people and allow her
to produce more handcrafted meals.
"The restaurant is designed beautifully, and the facility is really nice," she
said, noting it has an "open kitchen" with a wood-burning oven.
emphasized the ingredients will be the stars.
"If you start with good ingredients, it's easy to make a really nice dish.All the elements are there," she
"People who are in the business a long time know it's not what you can do to the food, but how can you let the food be the star attraction and let it shine," she
added."A lot of people overwork it.