A Sonoma native, chef Josef Morphis landed in Southern California in 2011 as executive sous chef of Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills after working at various places up north like John Ash & Co., The Culinary Institute of America and Napa Valley Grille.
In October 2013, Morphis was named executive chef at Mastro’s Ocean Club in Newport, but he still pays homage to his Sonoma roots. “My personal [cooking] style is as close to wine country cuisine as you can get—fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared to showcase their natural flavor,” he says.
Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival attendees will have a chance to experience his way of cooking on Saturday at the Grand Tasting Pavilion from 1-5 p.m.
“We will be offering a few of our signature items such as the Mastro’s cosmo and the famous butter cake along with a couple other savory items,” Morphis says. “I would love to [say] more, but would hate to ruin anyone’s surprise.”
Five Questions with Josef Morphis
Biggest culinary guilty pleasure?
I’m a sucker for In-N-Out.
First thought that comes to mind when you hear “TV cooking shows”?
Honestly, “Iron Chef,” the original, comes to mind as well as “Yan Can Cook.”
Favorite restaurant around town?
That is a tough one. It all depends what time of day. I love Plums Café for breakfast, Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee for “Sunday Funday.” Pandor is a new favorite for brunch and lunch, and Sota comes to mind for dinner.
What is your current favorite ingredient to work with?
I would have to say scallops are one of my favorite ingredients to work with lately. They are so versatile; you can use them for just about anything. But that could change tomorrow. I like to just go with the flow.
What would you eat for your last meal?
I would have to say sushi, all day. I crave it more than anything, and I find the flavors to be so clean and elegant. It would be a great meal to go out on.
MASTRO’S OCEAN CLUB
8112 E. Coast Hwy.
NEWPORT BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
—Written by Kirsti Correa