JANINE FALVO TAKES HELM AT RENAISSANCE-LONG BEACH
FORMER TOP CHEF CONTESTANT NOW IN CHARGE
Long Beach,CA(Perfect Meal Today)5/19/14/–The Renaissance Hotel on Ocean Avenue in Long Beach has recently hired a new Chef in the form of Janine Falvo, and at a recent tasting event I was able to sample some of her cooking. In the Verona Room where the tasting took place, it is rather inconveniently situated adjacent to the lobby, and I noticed in a short space of time three large groups of airline crew checking in.
That included the smartly dressed crowd from British Airways, which means that if the hotel wants to get that business during their stay, Miss Falvo has a license to take some risks with her menu.
She arrives from the Renaissance in Atlanta, and the hotel is determined to become the top hotel on Long Beach with this new hiring. To call her a celebrity chef is maybe pushing it a bit, but any television exposure in a top cooking show these days can be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Like most nomadic chefs these days she has had several gigs aside from Atlanta, including the Carneros Bistro at the Lodge in Sonoma and Parcel 104 at the Santa Clara Marriott.
The former Top Chef contestant (2007) has completely revamped the menu (don’t all new chef’s eliminate any reference to their predecessors) and has promised to include locally caught fish, organic meats, artisan cheeses, locally grown produce and vegetarian options. This is known as the “Ocean to Fork” concept of cooking.
Here are just a few examples of what you might see on her menu on a visit to the Renaissance Hotel in beautiful downtown Long Beach, and I am not being sarcastic as the area is a real nice place to visit. Ahi Tuna w/compressed watermelon, basil, cilantro and Thai chili was a nice savory start to the tasting. This was quickly followed by smoked prawns w/puttanesca.sauce, a lively and pungent tomato sauce originally from Naples that contains a combination of olives,peppers,anchovies and garlic.
Asparagus fondue w/parmesan cheese and quail egg followed by oysters and ramps, a most unusual combination involving the wild onion that seems to be all the range with chefs these days. Of course no modern tasting would survive without the obligatory kale, and Falvo’s version incorporates green tea vinaigrette, plums, toasted coconuts and cherries.
Still would have preferred beets. Charred octopus was a nice touch with gigante beans, calabrian peppers and grilled Olives to round out a meal nice and savory and quite eclectic. Time will tell if the place makes Jonathan Gold’s 101 best restaurant list next year, but the talented chef Has a nice platform to showcase her obvious skills
Renaissance Hotel-111 East Ocean Blvd, Long Beach.