Faces of SLO County: Coastal Cuisine, a Feature on Gregg & Kelly Wangard

by Katy Budge with edits by K. Reka Badger

Photo by Kevin Steele www.kevsteele.com

When it comes to family, local food, and healthy cuisine, Gregg and Kelly Wangard talk the talk and walk the walk. Both are accomplished, classically trained chefs who share similar experi­ences working in everything from small cafes, to intimate fine din­ing establishments, to five-star resorts.

After starting their family, the couple longed to return to the Central Coast where Kelly had grown up. They were thrilled when Gregg landed the chef de cuisine position at Marisol at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach, and equally elated when Kelly became exec­utive chef/manager at Summerwood Inn in PasoRobles.

Being chefs and parents gives the Wangards a unique perspec­tive on the bounty of the county. They understand the importance of quality ingredients and make regular trips to local farmers' mar­kets, noting that, "Living in this area with all of its resources has made our jobs that much easier! We also try to inspire our children to try foods, eat seasonally, and have fun doing it," a philosophy that extends beyond their own family.

"Kids feel empowered to make healthier choices by knowing what real food looks like and tastes like, "so Gregg participates every year at a local elementary school's Nutrition Week. He not only demonstrates cooking a healthy kid-friendly lunch, but he also makes a popular "take home" bag to help inspire the parents as well.