Fish Gaucho is one of Paso Robles' newest restaurants and focuses on fresh, California-Mexican fare with a wide variety of premium tequilas. Today, we would like to introduce you to the mind behind the cuisine, Executive Chef Chris Beckett.
Chef Beckett grew up cooking family meals for himself and his brother, honing his abilities and palate through a willingness to try new things and get creative. No challenge was too intimidating, even at an early age. By age nine he had developed his own recipes and techniques, which were later sharpened at Le Cordon Bleu.
How was Fish Gaucho created?
"The owners and I worked together closely at the coastal restaurant they owned for nearly a decade, Schooner's Wharf of Cayucos. Funky beach town. Most of the clientele was from out of town. Throughout the summer we had great business, and were always in high demand. A real hotspot. That gave me a lot of confidence trying risky items, such as high-end seafood tacos and other lunch favorites like elevated nachos, etc. We had great success with these experiments. It was a lot of fun.
Moving on from Schooner's, we developed a fantastic pub menu for Pappy McGregor's, and are very proud of what we have there, but always longed for the opportunity to get back to the fresh seafood that was our roots and expand on that theme a little more. Coming up with the idea for Fish Gaucho was pretty seamless. The execution of craft cocktails and locally sourced California / Mexican cuisine was easy and fun, but we wanted to do it "right." We constantly challenge our own standards and always look for ways to move forward, improving our cuisine, our service, our execution."
What are your 5 favorite local ingredients to use?
Micro green cilantro
Why are those 5 ingredients your favorite?
"We source all of our micro greens from Bloom Microgreens in Los Osos. We love the mild yet distinctive flavor that they impart to our dishes. We use a variety of greens: cilantro, radish, spring onion. We think of them as key components and not just "garnish.
Our avocados come from Morro Bay, for the most part. I use avocados throughout my flavor profile, such as garnishes, sauces, salsas, and of course our signature guacamole.
Local Peppers, such as the Fresnos that make it into many of our dishes are awesome. They tend to be a little less pure heat and have great texture and flavor. When we do get a super spicy batch, we temper them down with a light pickling in agave and citrus.
When we can get it, the local fish are a star of the menu. We actually took an early morning expedition with the entire kitchen staff last summer and brought in our own massive lingcods."
When you're not working, where do you like to eat out in SLO County?
Thomas Hill Organics
Check out some of Chef Beckett's creations: