Vote for Your Favorite Female Chef of Orange County
Written By: Chelsea Raineri Female Chef of Orange County
Chef Shachi Mehra has a passion for creating innovative and thoughtful menus that tastefully balance a variety of flavors and make cuisines appealing to a range of tastes. An ardent supporter of local farmers and sustainable practices, she takes great care in sourcing her ingredients. Born in India, her early family experiences helped to develop and shape her love of food and appreciation for balance, in flavors and in life.
A jack of all kitchen trades, Chef Katy Smith has had a wide range of jobs within the culinary industry including, time in a 5-star hotel kitchen and owning and operating a personal chef business. Smith brought her talents back to Southern California in Summer 2016 as Puesto’s executive creative chef. At Puesto, Smith is constantly experimenting with new ingredients and testing out recipes to give a fresh and innovative spin to authentic Mexican cuisine.
While studying to become a teacher, Chef Colleen Flynn found a love for food and by her senior year was more excited about the culinary arts than anything else. She has been with Pizzeria Ortica for 7 years, where she worked her way from the line to eventually becoming the Executive Chef. With her brand new menu, Chef Flynn elevates traditional Italian cooking with local and seasonal ingredients and flavors.
The charming structure that houses Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, was built in the early 1900’s and was the perfect fit for Gabbi Patrick’s “Colonial” Mexican restaurant concept. With a location set, Gabbi’s opened in July of 2006. Gabbi’s passion for her Mexican heritage, combined with her penchant for traveling, is her biggest influence, and is reflected with every dish at Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen. Gabbi’s mission is to not only provide an unforgettable dining experience, but to also share her knowledge of the diverse regional cuisine of Mexico with her patrons.
Executive Chef and Owner Lindsay Smith-Rosales has dedicated her last 10 years operating Nirvana Grille with a strong focus towards seasonal healthier offerings not frequently found in decadent fine dining menus. This enables the true flavors of foods to take center stage delighting and indulge the senses. Her food is clean and approachable yet craveable, utilizing fresh, local, organic and GMO free produce, sustainable seafood, hormone and antibiotic-free meats, free range and organic poultry and all natural products with a focus on changing her menus to rotate with the season keeping her menus at the peak of freshness.
Founded nearly 30 years ago, in 1987 by Chef Zov Karamardian, the legendary Zov’s Bistro & Bakery has become an Orange County culinary institution with unique cuisine that blends contemporary style with Eastern Mediterranean influences in an upscale chic environment. Family support has constantly been Zov’s foundation and inspiration throughout her career. She’s authored 2 best-selling, hardcover cookbooks, “Simply Zov” and “Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart,” each of which have sold well over 70,000+ copies.
Chef Linda Johnsen is the Owner and Executive Chef of Filomena’s Italian Kitchen as well as the Italian Market in Costa Mesa. Linda grew up in South Philly in a traditional Italian American family where she spent Sundays with her Grandmother Filomena and Aunt Rosemary making a pot of Sunday Sauce and learning the secrets to making “homemades” or pasta. This is where the tradition and techniques of Italian cooking were passed down to Linda and what she now shares with her guests.
Chef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Executive Chef and Partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas. Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the wonderful tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula to guests. Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered a flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations, that is at the heart of her restaurants.
Executive Chef Debra Sims’ passion for sustainable, seasonal cuisine combined with her mastery of wood-fired grilling, brings to life a one-of-a-kind dining experience at Maro Wood Grill. Growing up in Colorado, Debra was inspired by fresh ingredients and developed a true love for the farm-to-table style of cooking. Upon realizing her culinary calling, she worked her way from Line Cook, to Sous Chef, to Pastry Chef, then Executive Chef where she leads the Maro Wood Grill kitchen today.
Chef Cathy McKnight started her career in 1993 after graduating from the University of California, Davis and completed course work at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She is in demand as a menu consultant and small farm advocate as her attention to detail and passion for great food are reflected in her creative menus and the ease in which she plans events. “My God given gift is hospitality and my greatest joy is celebrating life with family and friends,” says Cathy.
Vote HERE for your Favorite Female Chef of Orange County