5 Questions with… Chef Carla Arce of O Sea

The new executive chef at O Sea, which has shifted from counter service to full service in Old Towne Orange, weighs in on the change.
Chef Carla Arce O Sea Orange Coast Magazine
Chef Carla Arce of O Sea in Orange.

Photo by Emily J. Davis.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE EXECUTIVE CHEF?

It’s an absolute honor! I look forward to building on (owner Mike Flynn’s) concept with new dishes and flavors. I am also honored that I can be another example of women Latina chefs successfully running a kitchen.

WHAT WILL YOUR TAKE BE?

I am half Mexican and half Chilean and am influenced by that type of cuisine.
I hope to honor my ethnic traditions
by infusing the seafood dishes with elements from those influences.

YOUR FAVORITE DISH?

The branzino is my favorite dish on the menu. I call it “my baby,” and I’m very proud if it because it’s something I’ve always wanted to make and it explores more of my heritage.

FAVORITE INGREDIENT TO USE?

Cilantro. You can see and smell it in some form across many of our dishes. … I love it, as it makes things crisp and fresh.

DOES MOVING TO FULL SERVICE CHANGE THE KITCHEN?

It hasn’t changed our operation at all. … If anything, my culinary training and my amazingly talented team of cooks are thriving because of it.

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