By Allison Hata
Five Crowns diners would never guess that Executive Chef Steve Kling developed his cooking chops in the “school of hard knocks,” as he describes it. Without any kind of formal training, he self-taught chef worked his way up in the restaurant industry from prep cook at a small restaurant to executive chef at Kado in LA. Along the way, he’s worked with renowned chefs such as Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Beverly Hills and Katsuo Nagasawa at the old Ozumo location in Newport Beach.
Kling explains his cooking philosophy revolves around trying not to overthink, keeping preparations simple, and bringing out the beauty and natural flavors of ingredients. It’s been a successful formula, one that led to his rising in the ranks at Lawry’s to executive chef of Five Crowns in late 2014.
He’ll be at the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival for the Sunday Grand Tasting Pavilion, where he plans to present a dish of minced duck with shaved Brussels sprouts slaw on a crisp wonton. Until then, get to know the chef at the helm of the 50-year-old Corona del Mar restaurant.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH STEVE KLING
What did you make for dinner last night?
Thoughts on TV cooking shows?
They used to be good—Mario Batali, David Rosengarten, “Too Hot Tamales,” “Iron Chef,” Jacques Pépin. Now there is not much besides “Top Chef.”
Most embarrassing cooking moment?
Ripping the seat of my pants as I was squatting to grab something from the low boy fridge
What would you eat for your last meal?
Marinated and grilled sardines
Biggest kitchen pet peeve?
Squeamishness or apprehension towards trying new things
3801 E. Coast Highway
NEWPORT BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL
Newport Beach Magazine is a sponsor of the 2015 Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival.