Chef Darrell Campbell Dishes on What’s Cooking
Written By: Miranda Aponte Master’s Kitchen
Along the Pacific coastline in the heart of Oceanside, home to charming beach towns and small-businesses, sits Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail. The space was a drag car shop in the 1920’s turned craft cocktail and food haven. The big open space, woodwork, natural light and architecture give off a feeling of sophistication, far removed from what I imagined a race car drag shop to be. Yet still, there is a feeling of nostalgia in the air, from the vintage lighting, stone-filled bar, brick wall to the patio lounge. There is a subtle ambiance of nature and Earth’s elements, one that nicely reflects the food and drink.
The Man Behind the Menu
As of this past spring, Chef Darrell Campbell is the man behind the menu, serving up simple ingredients and quality dishes. Campbell was on his way to becoming a chemical engineer at Michigan State, when working at a Buffalo Wild Wings completely changed the direction of his path. He fell in love with the pace of the kitchen and knew that being a chef was his dream. He moved to Scottsdale, AZ to attend a culinary institute and studied under executive chefs with a focus on Italian cuisine. Later, Campbell made his way to California and landed his first executive chef position at Davanti Enoteca. After working for a few other San Diego restaurants like Vintana and Intertwined, he was dubbed Sous Chef at Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail last November.
Chef’s Day Off
Oceanside is now where Campbell lives, works and plays. Saturdays, you’ll find him walking Cyclops Farms in sandals, getting his feet dirty while capturing photos of the beautiful farm and some of the ingredients you will see at the table at Master’s (follow his Instagram page to see more) on his Samsung. He humbly credits the farm’s hard work for the dishes he’s able to create. Fostering community and local support are both parts of the reason Campbell chooses to source ingredients from places like Cyclops Farms, JR Organics, Prager Brothers and Rancho J’Balie. He attributes the freshness, flavor and quality as the source for elevating the menu. He truly understands the beauty of each ingredient and knows what brings out the best flavors, which is showcased throughout his dishes.
Roasted Pear Salad and a Veggie Sandwich—recently added to the menu for the fall season—are two dishes Campbell is particularly excited about. The Roasted Pear Salad consists of a bed of arugula and frisee topped with walnuts, pickled cranberry, honeycomb, Humboldt Fog goat cheese with a vegetable ash layer and drizzled with a honey walnut vinaigrette. The Veggie Sandwich came from his own craving for some hearty vegetable grub. Layered inside a Prager Brothers ciabatta bread is a slice of aged cheddar cheese, quinoa, edamame, french fries, garbanzo beans, pickles and spicy ketchup.
The Master’s Burger is always a crowd pleaser, and Campbell enjoys making the Pork Belly and Beet Salad. But, the pair you must experience for yourself is the Alamo cocktail and the Carne Adobada Street Tacos: corn tortillas with cotija cheese, charred corn, baby radish, topped with micro cilantro and pickled onion. Wash it down with tequila, pressed lime, house agave, shaken cucumber, garnished with firewater bitters and smoked salt on the rim.
Chef Campbell’s philosophy of keeping it simple and less-is-more is changing the game at Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail, providing Oceanside with a taste of simple yet flavourful dishes. He aims to return to the basic elements when it comes to cuisine, visiting the local farmer, cultivating a relationship and getting excited about the roots—literally—of food. The nod to local farmers’ hard work and quality ingredients is refreshing and well-deserved, but the man with the vision behind the plate and beyond the table is equally applause-worthy.
Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail
208 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
Get Ready for the Fall Menu Changes at Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail in Oceanside