Taste of California in New York: Chef Craig Strong at the James Beard House

Chef Craig Strong, Executive Chef at Studio in the Montage Hotel and Resort in Laguna Beach, Calif. cooked for an enthusiastic gathering of 30 diners at the famed James Beard House on W. 12th Street last night. Chef Craig Strong joined Montage Laguna Beach as Executive Chef of Studio in June 2009. Chef Strong is best known for his modern French cuisine with California influences–a welcomed influence for New Yorkers looking for a bright and fresh break from the NYC cold.

“The California Coast at the James Beard House” dinner started with a cocktail reception featuring carefully curated California wines and custom cocktails with a West Coast twist–like Lavender syrup and fresh goose berries. The 5-course dinner, along with the wine pairings, was an unequivocal hit with the diners who enjoyed the selections fresh from the chef’s 1000+ ft. herb garden and vegetables that are same-day picked and delivered by Southern California farmers.

The chef came out to accept accolades from the more-than-satisfied diners and James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro encouraged all to visit the chef at The Montage during future travels. Every diner seemed to nod in agreement at that suggestion.  As one guest was overheard saying he needed to be rolled home, the ever-hospitable chef did not let that deter him from sending everyone away with a fresh loaf of spice bread and homemade jam for today’s breakfast.