As you get older, you start to realize there’s a tangible dichotomy within yourself – there’s the person you are when you’re with your family; who you are when you feel safe and comfortable. Then there’s the person you ARE; the person you choose to be when you’re out in the world.
For Carbon Beach Club’s beloved Chef, the person he is at home has Guatemalan flavor, and the person he’s grown to be is very LA – but what unites the two is food.
Chef Victor Morales grew up in a very traditional Guatemalan home – tamales on Christmas, an appreciation for good coffee, and a love for meat. As a result, Chef is all about forming and discovering meat dishes– preferably ones that are decadent and almost thought-provoking. However, after living in LA all his life and attending Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Morales not only understands meat, he understands fish, and how to cook the two with ornamentation, creating something to indulge in.
The thing about LA is that everyone is always trying to come up with a trendy new concept, which doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality of taste (Read: Moby’s new vegan joint). Chef Morales’s favorite recipes served at Carbon Beach Club exemplify staples done right.
Like the Tuna Tartar with Persian cucumbers, and the Branzino served whole with delightfully crispy skin.
The other traditional Central American practice that Chef Morales partakes in, is intuitional cooking. Chef says it’s the tamales he makes for his family on Christmas that satisfy his soul most. He notes that he finally perfected his mother’s recipe when he realized that tamales should be made more methodically than systematically – no timer can predict when the masa and water will feel like wet sand. That’s something only a human can decipher.
After one meal at Carbon Beach Club, it’s easily apparent that his personal methodical cooking tactics leak over into his professional creations. Everything is done meticulously and with care, intuition but precision.
You can’t order a salad without noticing that the steak is braised perfectly with spices that are original, but complimentary to the dressing.
The fish of the day is guaranteed to be spectacular, given that the type of fish isn’t pre-determined based on surplus, but rather on what’s particularly fresh.
With all that Chef Morales’s cooking encompasses, it should come as no surprise that he firmly believes Southern California will always be his home, if only because he values the old school practice of cooking with fresh ingredients – something that can be hard to do when there’s snow in the local weather forecast. But after being raised by a family that utilized what was available to successfully cook the most enjoyable dishes, it seems only fair to do the same for his patrons.
It’s undeniable that Chef Morales’s origins, his appreciation for quality, and his education all successfully contribute to the incredible dishes served at Carbon Beach Club’s ocean side restaurant.
WRITTEN BY JORDAN MOROSCO