There are so many talented people responsible for making F10 all that it is today. One aspect of creating content to share with you on the FWORD, is learning and sharing the unique histories and perspectives of our fellow team members — what makes them tick and how they came to be a part of the F10 Family. We would be remiss to not sit down with Chef Eddie Moran, Executive Chef at Mr. Lyon’s Steakhouse and Culinary Director of F10. If you know Chef, he’s impossible not to love. If you don’t know him, you will love him after reading his words. He is thoughtful, kind, intelligent and incredibly talented at what he does and we are lucky to have him with us. We gained so much insight from spending time with him and amassed so much information, that we have decided to share this interview in two parts.
F10 - Tell us about your culinary background and why you decided to become a Chef?
EM - I’m a native of Southern California, which has a farm to table mindset, and the food of Mexico and El Salvador are my heritage. These are the things that make up my foundation - my ethos and culinary culture.
Professionally, I’ve spent the last 13 years learning American, French, Italian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and world cuisines from many chef mentors. I also spent time in the South, particularly Charleston, where I gained a wealth of knowledge in haute southern comfort food.
I came from a family of cooks. Everyone was always in the kitchen. Growing up I was drawn to it. At 10, I would watch the classic PBS kitchen shows with my grandmother - Julia Childs, Jacque Pepin, Martin Yen, Great Chefs of the World - and write down recipes and try to recreate them for my family. I never thought of it as being a career. Throughout college, I worked jobs in the hospitality industry - server, bartender, cook - but it wasn’t until I was sitting in my dorm and saw a commercial for the California Culinary Academy that it occurred to me that I wanted to do this professionally. I dropped out of college that month and enrolled in San Francisco.
Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work as a Chef de Partie at Jardinière in San Francisco, under James Beard award-winning Chef/Owner Traci Des Jardins. I spent eight years on the West Coast working at prestigious restaurants and hotels including the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco and Aubergine at L’Auberge in Carmel. In 2011, I relocated to Washington D.C. to work with Michelin 2-Star chef Eric Zeibold at the Mandarin Oriental. And I came to Palm Springs from Woodward Table, owned by culinary legend Jeffrey Buben, where I was the executive chef.
F10 - What brought you to Palm Springs?
EM - The opportunity to “get the band back together” was exciting. I worked with F-10 managing partner Greg Rowen in the beginning stages of my career first at Black Cat in San Francisco. In 2003, we worked together again at Four Seasons San Francisco where I also met Marco Rosetti, and eventually Tara Lazar. Good food, friendship and family is the root of my return to Southern California and the reason why I moved to Palm Springs.
F10 - Do you have a go to spice / ingredient that seems to always make its way into your dishes?
EM - I’m a huge fan of finishing salts. At Mr. Lyons, we finish all of our steaks with Sel Gris; (Gray sea salt) because of the way it's harvested. This salt from the Brittany region of France’s Atlantic coast has a natural light grey color. This is due to the clay lining the salt flats. The mineral flavor brings out the minerality and savoriness of the steaks, enhancing the experience of eating a good steak.
We also use smoked Maldon salt, cold smoked over oak and hardwood embers from England; Murray River salt, from underground aquifers in Australia; Jacobsen flake salt from the bay in Oregon and Hawaiian Black Lava salt, which is smokey and has minerality, with hints of sweetness.
F10 - Tell us about your favorite meal to cook?
EM - If you ask anyone who knows me well, the answer is soup. My favorites are Pho, Ramen, Menudo, and Sopa de Mondongo (Salvadoran beef soup with tripe). There is a spiritual and medicinal quality to making and eating soup. It’s such a labor of love and you can always taste that when it’s done right.
F10 - What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without in your kitchen?
EM - There are three things I couldn’t live without in the kitchen... A VitaMix, Robot Coupe, and a cryovac machine.
F10 - What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
EM - Providing a memorable experience for guests and knowing that through food I make an impact that changes cultures and is respected as both an art and craft.
F10 - Who are some of your favorite Chefs to follow?
EM - Kyle Connaughton at Single Thread in Healdsburg, CA
Jose Luis Hinostroza at ARCA Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Justin Cogley at Auberge Relais Châteaux L’Auberge Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York, NY
F10 - Name a few cities / restaurants that are on your culinary bucket list and why?
EM - San Francisco/ Bay Area:
· Californios (Michelin**) A part of the mexican revival and new mexican fine dining scene not just Tacos
· Atelier Creen (Michelin***) Seafood and vegetable forward tasting menu that was awarded 3 Michelin stars chef Dominique Creen is the only female chef in the United States to have this most prestigious accolade.
Healdsburg/Russian River: Single Thread Restaurant (Michelin ***) Farm to table in an elegant and innovative way to serve an 11 course tasting menu that won Chef Kyle Caughnniton the coveted Michelin three stars.
New York, New York: Eleven Madison Park (Michelin ***) #1 in the World's 50 Best Restaurants two years ago and is still one of my favorite Hospitality groups and chefs. Make It Nice is Chef Daniel Humm’s moto and the name of his hospitality group.
Washington DC/Virginia: Inn at Little Washington (Michelin ***) The “Culinary Pope” is the name given to Chef/Proprietor Patrick O’Connell refined American fare its been on my bucket list before it was even Michelin rated. I wanted to go here as a young man when I saw him on great chefs of the world on PBS cooking soft shell crabs.
Seattle Washington: Canlis chef Brady Williams JBF Best Chef Northwest. An interesting landmark, fine dining destination designed in a mid century modern home offering Pacific Northwest cuisine.
Tune in next month when we talk with Chef Eddie about the Coachella Valley culinary scene, industry trends and the importance of food sustainability in today’s restaurants.
photography by Sarah Dickenson