San Diego dining options are numerous. The Four Star Amaya at The Grand Del Mar north of San Diego is a great place for dinner. Chef Cameron Woods, the restaurant’s chef de cuisine,, is committed to fresh and local and sources fresh and local California produce, meat and poultry for his kitchen when he can. He also uses herbs from the luxury property’s gardens. “I like to prepare food that people enjoy and can understand,” says Woods. The talented young chef also loves fresh ocean bounty. He rhapsodizes about working with seafood. “It takes finesse and feel, and a knowledge of how to balance flavors to prepare fish properly so that you don’t overpower its delicate flavor.”
Before coming to the Five Diamond Grand, the Charleston, South Carolina native worked in some prestigious kitchens. He started as dishwasher and worked his way up to executive sous chef under renowned chef Ken Vedrinski at the now Five Star, Five Diamond Woodlands Resort & Inn in Summerville, South Carolina. From there he served as sous chef at the Four Seasons Exuma in the Bahamas and restaurant chef at Four Seasons Atlanta. He’s married to Assistant Pastry Chef, Mary Catherine Woods. When not cooking, the busy chef enjoys surfing, biking, traveling and dining out.
The simplicity of his creations in the Mediterranean- influenced, Four Star Amaya leads to a delightful dining experience. Chef Woods shares his recipe for Lobster Pappardelle, a wonderful creation that blends the flavors of lobster, shallots, Pernod or Ouzo, tarragon and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bon appétit!
Chef Camron Woods’ Lobster Pappardelle
1 ½ Pound Live Maine lobster
1 cup Distilled vinegar
1 cup Wild mushrooms, whole
½ cup Salted butter
1 shallot, minced
¼ pound dried pappardelle pasta
1 Tomato, roughly chopped
2 ounces Ouzo or Pernod
1 cup lobster Stock
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 ounce Tarragon, chopped
Method for Lobster:
Cook the lobster in a large stock pot by simmering in enough water to cover the lobster, with one-half cup of distilled white vinegar per gallon of water, for 5 minutes. Immediately remove from pot and place in ice water to chill for 10 minutes. Remove meat from shell, chop into about 2-inch cubes, and reserve.
Method for Mushrooms:
Cook mushrooms by sautéing with one tablespoon of butter and half of the minced shallots until tender, about 1 minute. Reserve mushrooms.
Method for Pasta:
Boil pasta until tender in salted water. Remove and reserve at room temperature. Do not rinse pasta.
Final Preparation and Assembly:
In a large sauté pan, melt one teaspoon of butter and slowly cook remaining shallots until tender. Add reserved mushrooms and chopped tomatoes. Add ouzo (be careful as the alcohol will flare and then burn for a short while, this is fine). After the flame goes out, add lobster stock and reduce liquid by half. Then add reserved lobster and pasta. Simmer until warm. Remove from heat and add parmesan, remaining butter and tarragon. Serve immediately.
We were the guests of the Grand Del Mar where we had a wonderful one-bedroom suite. We were also their guests for dinner at Amaya. The gracious hospitality we were extended by these establishments has not influenced this post in any way.
The Santa Fe Travelers were the guests of the Grand Del Mar where we had a wonderful one-bedroom suite. We were also their guests for a delicious four-course dinner at Amaya. The gracious hospitality we were extended has not influenced this post in any way.