Winner of the 2019 Santa Barbara Vegan Chef Challenge
BEST VEGAN SUSHI
Gerardo Espitia, Executive Chef and Owner, has worked professionally in the food industry for decades but he had previously professionally worked as a horse trainer. He gave up that life to follow his passion of cooking and opened Norté-Sur Mexican Grill, the Mexican restaurant next door to Sea Ranger Seafood Station. He sold his shares to his business partner and opened Sea Ranger Seafood Station. Having only been open a little over two years, the menu and popularity both keep growing, moving closer and closer to a 100 percent vegan menu. Long range goals are to open a freestanding restaurant with a bar and patio here in Ventura.
Head Vegan Sushi Chef Anthony Longoria – “I began my career 1989, reluctantly in the main kitchen at the San Diego Princess Resort on Mission Bay. I transferred to rooms division and continued my career into the 2000s, trying desperately to stay out of the kitchens, each property I worked at some point always had me in the back of the house, from breakfast cook at a five star in the desert to a banquet cook at a country club in Poway and a half dozen places in between. I kept trying to stay away from kitchens but again, somehow I always ended up in the back of the house. Ventiki was the first restaurant where I’d been promoted to head chef and I learned a lot about myself there. I cook now because I love it, because it means something important, not because of anything I’m doing but because food in itself is important,to cook for others is spiritual and personal, I learned long ago to cook with intention, the vibe in the kitchen transfers into the food so its important to cook with passion. Food is unity, its a table we can all sit together at and despite our differences food is our common bond. Cooking is a privilege, cooking is an honor.”