The new chef de cuisine at 1500 OCEAN, the Hotel del Coronado’s signature restaurant, may be petite, but her menu offerings pack a powerful punch.
Meredith Manee previewed her fall culinary offerings at an afternoon get-acquainted reception for members of the Hotel Del’s Beach Village, beginning by gathering guests around the hotel’s herb garden, which she had just finished replanting for the fall and winter seasons, working with the Del’s executive chef, John Shelton, and hotel gardeners. The garden is on the backside of the Duchess of Windsor cottage, just across from the entrance to Spa at the Del. With all plantings clearly labeled, the garden provides inspiration for locals who might want to till their own soil.
“It’s not just for show,” Manee emphasized. “We’ll be using these herbs throughout our menu, especially in our salads and cocktails.”
Case in point: Manee wowed guests with tray-passed cocktails that included Absolute vodka with raspberries and rosemary, and whiskey flavored with candied ginger and cinnamon. Aah…to go back to high balls after tasting these spirited spirits would just seem so humdrum. The signature cocktails are available at 1500 OCEAN and the adjacent Sunset Bar, which Manee also oversees.
Manee’s appetizers provide a window into her style of cooking that always starts, she said, with the freshest offerings of the season. Example: a perfectly seared diver scallop perched upon mushroom risotto flavored simply with fresh black pepper and lemon. “I try not to use more than five ingredients in any one dish,” Manee said. “But each of those ingredients must be the finest and top of the season.”
“We are excited to have Chef Manee bring her fresh perspective to the cornerstone restaurant of the Del,” said Andre Zotoff, vice president and hotel general manager. Zotoff’s hotel career was preceded by an impressive culinary background in his native Germany that included the exclusive Master Chef credential and the opening of a restaurant when he was just 26 that earned a Michelin star. Noting that female chefs are rare in hotel management, he adds, “It’s very cool that we found Meredith.”
As a child, Manee spent hours in the kitchen learning her family’s traditional Italian flavors. Developing as a young chef, she added heat and spices from around the world to her repertoire. Heading the staff of culinary professionals at 1500 OCEAN, she blends those flavors in unexpected ways with seasonal produce from local farmers to bring new light to the California Coastal menu.
Her classically trained background includes the California School of Culinary Arts Le Cordon Bleu program and more than a dozen years with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Beverly Hills, Houston, Hawaii, Newport Beach and Santa Barbara. In her most recent position, Manee served as the executive restaurant chef of Edge Steak House at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver where she oversaw all onsite culinary operations and placed the hotel among the top three in the global Four Seasons portfolio. 1500 OCEAN is open Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-10 p.m. and Sunset Bar is open Tuesday-Saturday, 4-11 p.m. (619) 522-8490