Chef Masters

The “culinary for a good cause” event of the year welcomes you back

By Sarah Carpenter | Photography by Bob Hodson

Californians and beyond have the opportunity to uplift the reach of the Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC), while filling their plates with dishes crafted by the hands and hearts of more than 30 of Southern California’s top chefs. Spanning four decades, the AFC has been a key leader in care for mental health in Orange County, bringing attention to patients and their loved ones enduring dementia. DiningOut and KUDOS Newport Beach are bringing the community together for this event, returning to the sunset views of Huntington Beach, at Paséa Hotel & Spa, on October 27, starting at 3:30pm.

Like the birth of so many good causes, this event was founded after Kristin Martin discovered the scarcity of centers like AFC available to Orange County, and the potential for its growth. “I found out about AFC through a good friend whose mother had Alzheimer’s and was going to the center weekly. My friend said that it was such a wonderful place for her mother to be and she loved the facility, programs, and staff. She wished more people knew about this amazing center—I was immediately motivated to help in some way,” Martin explains.

Last year’s Chef Masters was a success, showcasing prized chefs—many of whom are returning—interactive charitable activities, and swing-time music in the air throughout the night. This year, expect similar spectacularities, including a 21-piece Big Band, while tasting your way through culinary trends prepared on the spot and made with love. Martin adds, “The chefs in the OC have the biggest hearts. When I reached out to them, I received tremendous support and enthusiasm. They all wanted to participate and understood the tremendous need for centers like AFC. The chefs themselves have a blast participating, and that helps set the mood for the night!” Discover for yourself a heartfelt and belly-full evening and the magic the chefs and the center bring to the table.


Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales

Nirvana sits just a breeze from the shores of Laguna Beach, boasting fresh fare from local purveyors and offers a harmonic experience of mind, body, and spirit—hence the name. A consciousness of harmony is echoed by Lindsay Smith-Rosales, executive chef at Nirvana Grille, and participating chef in last years and this year’s Chef Masters. “At Nirvana Grille, we want food to be at its peak. We want the seasons to dictate what is best and for whole foods to be created in such a way that complement without over-complicating, creating delicious food that feeds not only our stomachs, but our souls,” says Chef Smith-Rosales.

Smith-Rosales has earned numerous nods as a top-tier chef in Orange County and is consistently recognized for supporting sustainability efforts and local causes, such as by the Rooster Foundation and Kidney Foundation. At Chef Masters, her influence continues. “We are not just donating time and food,” she says, “we are allowing attendees to see that we have the gift to nourish by what we know how to do best—feed people!”

Chef also puts considerable thought into improving community nutrition based in simplicity. The myriad of sustenance that fuels the core of her art, brings food “back to the basics,” she explains, sourcing seasonally and locally, eliminating prepackaged food, and integrating healthy grains, proteins, and oils; even CBD oil. “Being advocates in the industry is important in creating change, and we need to keep our voice and support loud. As chefs, our gift for feeding people brings together community and camaraderie in support of a great cause. It is all full circle: when we give, we also receive so much more in return.” NIRVANAGRILLE.COM


Chef Manfred Lassahn (right)

Chef Antonio Roa has been adding zest to the culinary scene in SoCal for more than 30 years, getting his start at the Surf & Sand hotel in Laguna Beach. “I started as a dishwasher, and then worked my way to become a cook. I started helping out in the kitchen when I was 19, when I learned how things should taste and to respect ingredients,” Chef Roa recalls. Over the course of his time, he notes he has had the fortune of watching the industry grow and become more professional; working and observing in everywhere from hotels and restaurants to independently-owned and corporate businesses, leading both front and back of house.

Currently pleasing guests at Blue Lantern Inn, Chef Roa will be showcasing dish delights on behalf of Seahorse at Pearl Street at Chef Masters. Guests can expect to find a variety of flavors in Roa’s style, a foundation in everything from American to modern gastronomy, as such, “I am constantly finding ways to improve and strive to make each dish the best by using new products, while still incorporating my favorite ingredients, such as: fresh herbs, micro greens, petite mix, fresh garlic, fennel pollen, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar,” Roa says. BLUELANTERNINN.COM; PEARLSTGENERAL.COM/SEAHORSE


Chef Pascal Olhats (left) and Chef Yvon Goetz

A-many hats off to Chef Pascal Olhats—Chef Olhats is etched into the Newport Beach and Orange County scene, and beyond. He has planted seeds of his culinary journeys from his upbringing in Normandy, France, and across Europe, to relocating to California in ‘84. Since then, he has offered another lifetime of service in excellence across SoCal, such as at Le Meridien Hotel and Chanteclair Restaurant in Newport Beach, including consulting for groups like French 75, Savannah Chophouse, and Brasserie Pascal. Chef Olhats helmed Pascal’s Tea Garden Crêperie, Pascal’s Café in San Juan Capistrano, and continues to shine with Café Jardin Restaurant, Pascal’s Catering, and at Manassero Farms for memorable events. He has earned multiple accolades, including “Wine Spectator Award of Excellence,” “Restaurant Hall of Fame” awards, praise from the Zagat Guide, and much more.

Philanthropy also comes natural to Chef Olhats, as he frequently participates in local charitable events, including Chef Masters. “In my restaurants through the years, we always go out of our way to serve meals that are health conscientious. Including respect of the preparations and ingredients that are produced in sustainable manners. I will never serve something that I wouldn’t eat and enjoy,” explains Olhats. In anticipation of this year’s Chef Masters, Olhats hopes to continue the encouragement of healthy eating, and looks forward to doing so with the help of fellow chefs all working together. “My team and I will hope to make all our guests smile while they eat our dishes and let them know we are here to help them endure the hardship of their loved ones going through Alzheimer’s.” PASCALRESTAURANTS.COM


Chef Masters annual event

For 40 years, Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) has led Orange County in providing exemplary treatment for patients with dementia, while going the extra mile in also providing resources to their families and caregivers. AFC’s commitment has gained the reputation as one of Orange County’s most notable nonprofits, earning the “Excellence in Care” distinction by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) for exceeding the national standards for dementia care settings.

AFC is able to further their mission with the success of their community partners. “AFC is grateful for the incredible support that Hoag Hospital has been providing for four decades,” AFC CEO Joanna Richardson-Jones says of the partnership, which includes a 20,000-square-foot focused treatment center in Huntington Beach. In 2018, AFC aligned with Mission Hospital in launching a breakthrough “Mind & Memory Program” (MMP), provided at the Mission Viejo Campus, which offers cognitive-stimulating activities designed to slow the progression of dementia. AFC builds by improving the quality of life for patients and caregivers, while continually unveiling innovative education and treatment programs.

As AFC continues to cultivate a supportive community, there’s still an ever-growing need to significantly expand the availability of resources, facilities, and care in Orange County, and beyond. That is why sustaining the return of the Chef Masters event this fall and for years to come is so important. Guests will not only have a front row seat to SoCal’s most talented chefs and their creations, they will have the opportunity to grow Orange County’s AFC medical resources and increase awareness of this disease that affects more than five million Americans (NIH). AFSCENTER.ORG