By Karen Billing
Delicias Executive Chef Paul McCabe recently let the smell of freshly baked bread take him back. He warmly recalled the smell from his mother’s kitchen, where she explained how yeast worked to a fascinated young McCabe, the humble beginnings of a culinary career.
“It all started at home, my mom cooked everything; jam, bread, granola. It was a good country home and I was in the kitchen with her all the time,” said McCabe. “That’s where my love of food came from.”
A long way from his mother’s kitchen, McCabe has been at Delicias for the past four months, brought on as executive chef and a partner to owner Owen Perry. Together they are completely re-imagining Delicias. It will not only have a whole new menu, but also a new look.
The restaurant will close on April 22 for about a week for the revamping—think modern, color, no more tablecloths, rich dark woods and chandeliers and updated restrooms.
The new menu at Delicias will be a bit of a surprise as McCabe is keeping his cards close to his vest for now. He will reveal that he is aiming to create a new dining experience.
“The dining scene has changed over the last few years, people want to sit down and make it an event and taste a whole bunch of different things,” McCabe said.
Patrons will still be able to get great entrees, but there will be more “snack” and “side” options to experience as many of the flavors of Delicias as possible.
“You’ll be able to eat a different way every time you come to this place, which keeps it fresh and interesting,” McCabe said.
McCabe comes to Rancho Santa Fe from a career spent in mostly four- and five-star restaurants. Before coming to San Diego in 2001, he bypassed culinary school to apprentice for Chef Michel Blanchet, “one of the best chefs of our time,” and learn about old world French at the L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills.
He spent the last seven years at L’Auberge’s Kitchen 1540 before the opportunity at Delicias arose. He’s said he’s always had an “entrepreneurial spirit” and he was excited by the opportunity to come to the Ranch.
“I always liked Delicias and wondered why it isn’t at least in the top 10 of restaurants in town,” McCabe said. “I love that challenge to get the place back where it should be.”
McCabe is not a fan of the word “specialty” as his taste is constantly evolving. He would say his food is modern American, but he’s able to do anything from French to Japanese, skills honed from time spent doing Pacific Rim cuisine in Kona, Hawaii.
Location allows him to focus on California fresh produce and he makes all his own charcuterie.
“It’s great organic ingredients with modern cooking techniques,” McCabe said of his style.
To learn more about Delicias, visit deliciasrestaurant.com.