Chef Mikel Anthony used to describe himself as a “Ronin”, a rogue Samurai warrior who served many masters on a freelance basis. His “Ronin” ways came to an end when he stepped into Karina’s Group’s popular South Bay restaurant, Savoie. Anthony’s focus is heightening the eatery’s Mediterranean influenced menu featuring dishes from France, Italy and Spain.
David Contreras Curiel of the family-owned Karina’s Group says, “We wanted to bring in a new chef who could really take ownership of the kitchen. We were looking for a local talent who wanted to make his mark on the San Diego food scene, and were delighted to have found Mikel.”
Anthony and Savoie found each other so mutually satisfying that he accepted the position of Executive Chef earlier this year. He turned 33 in July, and says, “I think 33 is a good age. I plan to accomplish a lot this year.”
Just three months in the kitchen, Anthony has already accomplished a major reworking of the Savoie menu. It’s sophisticated yet familiar, with new “To Share” items like juicy hand-rolled meatballs in Anthony’s house marinara sauce and Pulpo (octopus) elegantly prepared as a Carpaccio with tentacle gremolata, Calabrian chile infused oil, and ancho aioli. Other choice items include blistered shishito peppers, squid-ink “chiccharon” crisps, and champagne oysters on the half-shell with the perfect salty-sweet balance. His heartier entrée options are stellar – Filet Mignon with creamed parsnip and red wine beurre compose, a bone-in pork chop with carrot puree, wild mushrooms, pickled mustard seeds, and to appeal to his seafood instinct, a Seared Scallop, clam and chorizo essence bouillabaisse. Needless to say, Anthony takes plating and dish presentation to an art form.
“I’m going to take the cuisine at Savoie to the next level,” Anthony says. “A beautiful restaurant like this should showcase food that’s as engaging and enjoyable as the setting.” He also would like the region to get a little more respect food-wise. “It’s unfortunate San Diego is not more recognized for the food scene,” says Anthony, adding “I believe that with my culinary training and experience, I can bring something to the table.”
A graduate of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego, Anthony has worked at prestigious resorts in the area: the Four Seasons Aviara and the Hilton Oceanfront, and restaurants like Richard Blais’ Juniper & Ivy ( of BravoTV’s Top Chef, Comun Kitchen and Tavern by Chad White (upcoming Top Chef competitor), and Cucina Enoteca Del Mar. In his independent role as “Ronin”, Anthony participated in 2013’s “Latin Fest James Beard Plate-Up”, and has donated his time to countless charity functions including the American Liver Foundation. Locally, Anthony was known for executing “pop-up” dinners and private events for enthusiastic foodies. Globally, he’s recognized for creating the “Fifth Best Mac & Cheese in the World” from 2014’s World Food Championships. He’s motivated, talented, and with Karina’s Group’s Savoie as his playground, it looks like success is in the bag.
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