Covering the dining scene in and around the OC
Last year, we attended the OC Press Club’s annual Journalism Awards Gala at the Island Hotel, at which Scott Dunlop – creator and executive producer for The Real Housewives of Orange County and its various spinoffs – was the keynote speaker.
It was a memorable evening for several reasons: Chris won three Journalism awards, and we were the highest bidders for an unusual silent auction item that raised funds for the Press Club’s Journalism Scholarships: dinner with Scott Dunlop.
Scott graciously left the restaurant choice up to us, but after several months of deliberating, we still had not decided. Chris bumped into Pascal at L’Epicerie and told him about our dinner dilemma. He insisted we bring Scott to Pascal’s flagship restaurant: Tradition by Pascal. So, we did!
On a recent Thursday evening, Pascal greeted us and guided our trio to a large corner table.
“Welcome to Tradition,” he said in his charming French accent. “I’ve prepared some special dishes to share, unless you would prefer to order individually?”
“I always respect the chef,” Scott told Pascal. “I trust your judgment. Usually, if I don’t like something I blame myself for ordering it, but…”
“That sounds wonderful, Pascal,” Stasha agreed.
“I have several appetizers coming. But first, poached oysters with shallots and crème fraiche, served on a bed of spinach, and paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from theLoireValley.”
“Very nice,” commented Scott after a sip of wine. “So, tell me how you two got interested in food and wine.”
“Ask the chef,” Chris said, pointing at Stasha.
“You’re a chef?” asked Scott
“Was a chef…past tense,” she smiled.
Stasha enlightened Scott on her culinary background—working on private yachts, then spending a year as the personal chef to one of the most successful businessmen in the world. She was explaining how she transitioned from cooking to acting when Pascal arrived with another dish.
“Something from the sea?” quizzed Scott.
“Marinated herring on a warm salad.”
“Beautiful,” Chris remarked.
“Remember Gustav Anders restaurant?” asked Pascal. “I used to go there just for the herring.”
“So did I, but this is better,” Chris said appreciatively.
“So your column is called Table for Two, correct?” said Scott in between bites. “I want to dine with you more often—you’ll have to create another column called Table for Three.”
“Well, you do know about spinoffs, right?” Chris laughed.
“The only reason to do an original is to do a spinoff,” replied Scott.
“That concept has certainly worked for your Real Housewives franchise, hasn’t it?” Stasha noted.
“It’s a popular show,” Scott admitted. “As the guy who created it, I know how the public feels and how the critics react. It’s such a simplistic show, but people have strong opinions about it and I find it interesting that people are so engaged in it.”
“Well,” Stasha said, “you’d think there would be a specific demographic for your show, but it falls into an incredibly vast area. Everyone’s watching it–the young, the old, the movers, the shakers, and established elite—they’re consumed with it.”
“It’s a popular show,” agreed Scott as we enjoyed our appetizer courses. “As the guy who created it, I know how the public feels and how the critics react. It’s such a simplistic show, but people have strong opinions about it and I find it interesting that people are so engaged in it. You can like it, you can hate it, but you can’t ignore it.”
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our dinner with Scott Dunlop.