• Christopher Groves: Poached Halibut while waiting for the Beach House to open

    by Richard Oh

    The Chef:

    Chef Christopher Groves grew up in Pacific Grove and his pursuit for culinary excellence has taken him to other parts of the country. I’m glad he is back to take on a new role at the Beach House at Lovers Point. Chef Chris has spent the past twenty years working his way up through the ranks of dining rooms and kitchens. Lucky for us, he’s been able to turn this love of food into a career in cooking.

    Chef Chris began his culinary career as a busboy at the Sardine Factory in Monterey, California while still attending high school in Pacific Grove. He fell in love with the energy of the restaurant and quickly developed a passion for the industry. His grandfather used to do blind taste tests with him every day, five flavors to develop his palate. This started at the young age of four and he still remembers scrambling eggs at age five. He worked the first 10 years of his career in the front of the house. He has worked at Pebble Beach Company before moving to San Diego then working in La Jolla. One day, Chris thought “I’d like to make the move into the kitchen.” So he enrolled at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale Arizona. There he graduated with an A.O.S. in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts. While in school he got involved with the American Culinary Federation and became a Jr. member. The Chef tried out for the ACF Jr. Culinary team and easily became a team member. He competed in Jr. events and won the school Titanium Chef competition, at this point he knew he had made the right career decision.

    After completing school Chef Chris worked in San Francisco and Las Vegas before returning to his hometown of Pacific Grove. Once again he found himself working at The Sardine Factory, this time in the kitchen under Certified Master Chef Robert Mancuso.

    In 2007 while with Marriott he was chosen to be a part of the ACF National Convention Culinary Team and went to Philadelphia as a Sous Chef to be a part of the 14-man team. After returning he moved on to be the Senior Sous Chef at Bouchee Bistro in Carmel, CA. After two years at Bouchee he teamed up with Da Giovanni Inc. and took his first Executive Chef position opening up Bistro Beaujolais also in Carmel. From there he ran his own company, Wild Mushrooms Monterey as Executive Chef/owner. And now I am proud to announce that he has joined forces with Kevin Phillips and Jim Gilbert as Executive Chef for the Beach House at Lovers Point, Pacific Grove, CA. Truly a dream come true and a career path that has run full circle returning him to his beloved hometown of Pacific Grove.

    The newly built from the ground up Beach House will be opening soon. It will have a brand new state of the art kitchen and amazing water views. The dining experience will be breathtaking and I cannot wait for the opening. They will offer a casual California menu with a hometown friendly service. Please visit www.beachhousepg.com for more information and opening date.

    The Wine:

    2010 Otter Cove Chardonnay. This is a single vineyard from Paraiso, Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s made from nice old vines that add depth and character. It went through partial malolactic fermentation so you’ll get some butter up front, tropical fruits, with a hint of vanilla on the finish. It spent part of the time in stainless steel and neutral oak. It has a nice flow from start to finish. It is bright with acid and refreshing with a nice zest. The fish is meaty so the body of the Chardonnay holds up great with the halibut. The acid of the wine cuts through the butter sauce and adds a nice zing of freshness to the whole dish. Please share responsibly…enjoy the wine.

    Poached Alaskan Halibut with butter braised asparagus, morel mushrooms and ramps


    • 4- 6 oz. pcs. Alaskan halibut
    • ½ pound fresh morel mushrooms
    • 1 bunch asparagus, peeled
    • 1 bunch ramps, washed and dried
    • ½ pound unsalted butter
    • 1 bottle Otter Cove Chardonnay
    • 1 ea. shallot, diced
    • 2 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1 ea. lemon, zested and juiced to taste
    • salt and white pepper
    • 1 liter extra virgin olive oil

    Procedure for the fish

    • Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a Pyrex baking dish, using a thermometer bring the oil to 145 degrees Fahrenheit over med. heat.
    • Season fish with salt and white pepper.
    • Place fish in oil for 30 minutes maintaining temperature of 145 degrees.
    • Remove from oil and hold warm for plating the dish.

    For the sauce

    • While the fish is cooking sauté diced shallot and thyme in 1 ounce of the butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
    • Deglaze the pan with 1 ½ cups of the chardonnay and reduce by two thirds over med-high heat.
    • Once the wine is reduced slowly whisk in ¼ pound of the unsalted butter.
    • Strain out the shallot and the thyme and season the sauce with kosher salt, white pepper and a little lemon juice. (You can add more or less lemon depending on how you like it).
    • Hold warm until you’re ready to plate.
    • For butter braising the veg.
    • This can also be done while the fish is cooking.
    • Bring 2 cups chardonnay up to a boil over high heat, then reduce to med-low heat.
    • Whisk in the rest of your butter and bring heat up to med.
    • Add peeled asparagus, mushrooms  and ramps and cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes
    • Season with salt and white pepper
    • Remove all veg from butter and wine mixture and arrange on plates
    • Place fish over the veg and then sauce the plate
    • Sprinkle lemon zest over the fish and veg. then serve. Enjoy!!!

    The Alaskan Halibut is lean and has a firm and dense texture. They average around 28 pounds but can grow over
    700 pounds. They are dark on one side and white on the other, this is known as countershading. This allows the fish to
    disguise itself from above and below. It can be served grilled, broiled, fried, and poached. I’ve had it in many different styles of cooking and enjoyed them all. I hope you will too.

    richard halibut

    posted to Cedar Street Times on April 26, 2013

    Topics: Oh, Have A Taste!


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