We love the romance of chefs who cook with ingredients gathered from their kitchen’s own terrain. For Bernard Ibarra, executive chef at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, that includes a sprawling coastline which he makes use of in the most delicious ways.
When he’s not gathering native herbs or spending quality time with the property’s resident chickens, Chef Ibarra has been busy building Terranea’s salt water conservatory. A unique spin on sustainability, the salt conservatory is a beautiful way to harness the Pacific from beach to plate into sea salts used throughout the resort’s kitchens.
After experiencing Chef Ibarra’s rustic and elegant farm-to-table fare ourselves, we asked the talented foodie to join our ‘In The Kitchen’ series where we explore the magical minds — and pantries — of culinary pros we admire. Read on for his natural, nuanced food philosophy and must-have ingredient list…
In my kitchen you’ll always find plenty of:
Espelette pepper, fish sauce, olives and cheeses, farm eggs.
Best food memory:
When I first cooked for my parents: squid in its own ink, wood pigeon in red wine, sautéed porcini, Basque cake. They said, “You should be a cook.”
Mugaritz by Andoni Luis Aduriz.
Food philosophy in one sentence:
Respect products and guests; dare and create; spread joy!
Fave ingredient lately:
Grilled fresh anchovies with garlic, sea salt, olive oil dusted with Espelette chili pepper.
Midnight snack perfection:
Dark chocolate with Espelette chili pepper added.
Food you love to eat with zero prep/additions:
Ewe milk cheese, pata negra ham, marinated hot chili pepper, cured olives.
Most impressive dish:
Bacalao pil pil: using salted cod’s own natural gelatin and a swirling technique to make the amazing dish.
Healthiest habit in the kitchen:
Wash hands as often as possible, to prevent cross-contamination.
Chili peppers, hot sauces, cheese, piquillo pepper, garlic, sea salt, cured salumi.
Best bargain tip:
Use vegetable trimmings to thicken sauces, craft a soup, use as flat bread topping, etc.
Fave veggie + what you make with it:
Wood mushrooms. Simply sauté them with olive oil, garlic, chili peppers and parsley… and serve with grilled crusty olive bread.
Craziest thing I buy at the market:
Brain, the smelliest cheeses, salted sardines.
A simple pintxo: White anchovies with guindilla (piparras) pepper and olive on crusty bread.
Your idea of an ideal dinner setting…
On a remote beach or on a farm.
Simple go-to recipe:
A Spanish omelet with chorizo and piquillo peppers, dusted with Espelette chili pepper on grilled crusty bread.
Chef Ibarra’s Signature Cocktail
1.5 oz patxaran (sloe liquor from Navarra)
2 oz brandy
1/2 oz Basque vermouth
1/2 oz sherry wine
2 dashes bitters
1 coiled strip dried orange peel
Stir in ice for 30 seconds, strain into chilled glass, garnish with the orange peel.