My chef-friend John Downey has operated one of the bedrock restaurants in Santa Barbara since 1982. Here is an exerpt from John's web page and latest newsletter. Consider dining with chef John.
"John Downey knew that he wanted to become a chef at the age of 12 in his native England. By the time he was 16, John was attending cooking school and working in local restaurants. At 19 he was cooking for Britain's Queen Elizabeth aboard her namesake ocean liner QE2 while seeing the world. In 1972 John settled down in New York and learned the finer points of classic French cuisine while working at one of that city's best restaurants; Lafayette. An invitation to join the "New American" food movement put him working under the advisory of James Beard at the World Trade Center's "Market Dining Rooms". Freshness was key. It was very good food. A passion was ignited in New York and Chef Downey was compelled to travel to California where so much of that good food was produced. Arriving in Santa Barbara in 1978, John brought his years of experience; English, French Nouvelle, New American and commenced a seachange of fine dining in this town. About the same time, Alice Waters in San Francisco and Wolfgang Puck in L.A. were also changing the way Californians would dine out. It would be termed "California Cuisine" by the food press. In 1982 we opened Downey's in the very heart of the best farming region in the country.
News from Downey's Restaurant
Dear E-Club Members…
The Downey family are all back safely at sea-level. This year Liz joined Phillip and me on our annual Sierra trip to the top of Mt. Whitney. Cooking is a little different up there, but suffice to say that I think we all ate pretty well under the circumstances. I usually prepare nutritious dinners ahead and then de-hydrate them to minimize pack-weight. I think my favorite meal though was a very carefully preserved salad that was fresh from the previous Saturday’s farmers’ market. That really hit the spot after a rather grueling summit day! But enough of this…The Celebration of Summer Dinner is next Wednesday and I wanted to share my ideas for the menu. Summertime always offers so much good food to use; in fact it’s difficult to decide what to leave out!
We will start with some of the Wild King Salmon that I’ve been getting from Northern California. I’ll smoke this over alderwood chips and serve it with a little salad of fresh shell beans. I saw some lovely beans from Fairview Gardens last week; I think they were the “Tongue of Fire” variety. (Don’t you love the names of the beans?) Second course will be a Chilled Tomato Soup which is back by very popular demand this year. The entrée will be a nice thick slice of Natural Beef Ribeye served with Choron Sauce and Grilled Summer Vegetables. For dessert we’ll have an updated version of the very first dessert I ever made back in 1964. Now in 2011 I’ll make a new version of that Classic Peach Melba, using fresh peaches, strawberry sauce and our own ice-cream.
The Celebration of Summer Dinner will be served on Wednesday, August 3rd, and the cost will be $50 per person. Please call 966-5006 for reservations or visit our website at www.DowneysSB.com and you can “book” through our website!
On another note…We are pleased with the result of our offering online reservations through our website. We hope it is working well for you also. Occasionally the computer may tell you that we are fully booked at a certain time when actually we might have a table available. If this should happen to you, it’s certainly worth a good old fashioned phone call to see if we can help you with a reservation. 805 966 5006.
John & Liz"