Regional Focus: Southern California…and the Food They Eat

Along the Pacific Coast from Santa Barbara to Tijuana lays a region of the country that has influenced the cooking by every professional chef in America. Welcome to sunny Southern California.

This region is responsible for making all kinds of dishes popular from coast to coast. For starters – the California Roll. Not only did this region make sushi rolls popular in America, it has the most popular of them named after itself. Traditionally this is “inside-out maki zushi”, which means it is nori wrapped around avocado, crabmeat and mayonnaise that is encased in a layer of sushi rice and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Carrots and red peppers often are found in this sushi roll as well. Another Asian dish that this region has made popular in the country: Pho. Los Angeles has a Pho restaurant nearly on every corner, from 9021Pho to Simply-Pho-You the plays on words are as popular as the restaurants themselves.

Fish Tacos. Do we need to say more? This classic SoCal dish made popular by suffers and skaters in the 70’s and 80’s can be found in nearly every city coast to coast. Fresh, lightly battered white fish, rough chopped and tossed in a small flour tortilla that is topped with fresh, raw, shredded cabbage some pico de gallo and a squeeze of fresh lime with a drizzle of crème fresh. Don’t like Fish Tacos? Then try a Fusion Street Taco! These too are right from the streets of LA. Korean BBQ Short Rib with fresh raw cabbage and some Kimchee…bam!

How about a classic? The Cobb Salad came from SoCal. Created in the 1930’s at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood and named after the owner Robert Cobb. This classic salad is iceberg lettuce, chopped and topped with bacon, chicken, egg, tomatoes, avocado, and blue cheese.

Southern California has been influencing cuisine in America for a 100 years, from citrus fruits to avocados being shipped across country as early as the first ships travelled from Pacific coast around to the Atlantic. Home of the original French Dip, Dodger Dog and Fusion cuisine. So the next time you are looking for something “new and cutting edge”, take a look to Southern California. What they are serving today, just might be what the entire country is serving two years from now!

John Steiding / Director of Training

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