5 Questions With Paige Riordan, Chef-Owner of Scarlet Kitchen & Lounge

The East Coast native and former dancer steps onto a new stage.
Photograph by Emily J. Davis

What inspired you to switch careers?
In 2014, my dad decided to quit his job and go to culinary school. I always had my eye on the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York. My dad and I (ended up going to) culinary school at the same time on opposite coasts. It was a lot of fun to share our experiences during that time.

What’s a must-try, East Coast-inspired dish on your menu?
The lobster grilled cheese. It’s a party in the mouth.

How do you like Rancho Mission Viejo?
We have this big hill in the back of our house, and you can see cows on it. It’s ranch life. There are multiple clubhouses, gyms, and parks. They just opened this outdoor gym facility with an Olympic-size pool.

What’s your Netflix obsession?
“Down to Earth with Zac Efron.” He goes around to all these different countries and just tries to find new ways to live a healthier life.

Do you have a pandemic silver lining?
It showed us that we have a presence here and in south O.C. Every day, I see at least 10 regulars. It’s just a high-five from our community, like “We’re here for you.”


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