What do you get when two of Orange County’s most talented and prominent chefs collaborate? If the chefs in question are Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow and Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria, you get Little Maria, a special night of co-cooking on Tuesday, May 12.
“Carlos and I have talked about working together for a long time. I really admire him and his style of cooking,” Samaniego says. “He and I are trying to set ourselves out to be something different for O.C.” As for the menu: “All I can say is that it will not be our ‘normal’ style.” The thought of a mashup of Samaniego’s updated classic style and Salgado’s alta cocina Chicano cuisine spurs tons of ideas—and what they don’t get to this time can be explored later in the summer, when the two team up again at Taco Maria.
Both chefs have garnered national attention in recent months, putting a bit of a spotlight on the Orange County food scene. Little Sparrow was a finalist on the Tom Colicchio Bravo TV show “Best New Restaurant,” and Salgado was just chosen one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs. Little Sparrow was also Orange Coast’s 2014 Restaurant of the Year. At the moment, the menu is shrouded in secrecy, but for $85 per person (wine pairing $30 additional) you can snag a place for one of two seatings at Little Sparrow in downtown Santa Ana, 6 or 8:30 p.m. and see for yourself what the chefs have in store.