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"Food is really just another form of art! A dish should look enticing, stimulate your sense of smell, and satisfy your sense of taste." Neil Smith, Executive Chef
Take a walk down the Embarcadero in Morro Bay and you'll find unique stores, surf shops, gorgeous views, and fantastic restaurants, of which is Windows on the Water. Perched directly on the waterfront, Windows on the Water offers seasonally changing menus that benefit from the purveyors of fresh fish, vegetables, fruit and herbs right here on the Central Coast. Today, get to know the man behind the chef's coat at Windows on the Water, Executive Chef Neil Smith.
His career began as an after-school job. Neil Smith started working in a Chinese restaurant in Pagosa Springs, Colorado when he was of barely legal age, only 14 years old. And, as he says, his first duties were "just flopping woks." Graduating to fine dining, Neil apprenticed under locally celebrated chef Yale Espoy at Isabel's, before moving to California. Neil was Banquet Chef under Paul Kwong at Embassy Suites and Christian Reya at The Gardens of Avila at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, before being lured to Windows in 2012 as Sous Chef.
In 2007, the opportunity came to assume the Executive Chef's position at Windows on the Water.
How does Chef Neil describe his cuisine?
It's World Cuisine, a melding of all the foods, flavors and aromas we are privileged to enjoy in California.
What is one of Chef Neil's favorite things to do?
Neil loves to taste beer! While "wine is fine," he thinks beer selection is an underappreciated "artform" that should be enjoyed more frequently with good food.
Which local beers are his favorite, you ask?
Firestones' Union Jack IPA and Figueroa Mountains' Lizard's Mouth IPA
What part of the job does Chef Neil enjoy the most?
Believe it or not, his favorite thing is being the "traffic control" in the kitchen on a busy night. Chef Neil values his kitchen staff immensely and enjoys the familiar camaraderie that goes with a well-trained team.
When he's not in the kitchen, what does Chef Neil like to do with his free time?
Neil loves spending time with his daughter and engaging his other passion, music.
> Learn more about Windows on the Water