Acclaimed executive chef, Joshua Severson, excites the palates of tourists and locals alike with his top notch ingredients, creative presentations and passion filled menu as one of the key players in the incredible success of Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach.
Before making the change to the tavern and steakhouse on PCH, Josh was providing guests at the St. Regis Monarch Beach with his delicious cuisine. Now in the historic 1934 home, previously French 75, Chef Severson excites his guests with an incredible array of steaks and seafood from local farms and fisheries along with starters and side dishes that are to die for.
Josh is a hardworking husband and father of two boys which constantly motivates him to be the best at his craft. He is most excited when his kids show interest in helping him in the kitchen or creating dishes on their own. He loves having the opportunity to use his passion and then share it with them. He defines his role at the tavern as a major multitasking position. He says that not only is he a chef and cook, but also mechanic, plumber, mediator, painter and general cleaner-upper.
Josh is a humble man who doesn’t feel he is much different from others in his field. Most of his peers have amazing skill sets, but what ultimately sets him apart is his creative spin on classic dishes, or how he uses a different approach or viewpoint on a dish and makes it his own.
What are some of your proudest achievements as a Chef?
First off, just making it to this level with all the challenges and demands is achievement enough. But my proudest achievement is when I hear the customers truly say “thank you” and hear from those that are honestly blown away with their experience at the restaurant – that’s what does it for me. And thankfully, at Selanne Steak Tavern, we have a huge outpouring from those kind of customers.
Favorite ingredient to cook with and why?
Vinegars, just because great vinegars can add that extra level of depth that is missing from certain dishes.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Classic French with touches of contemporary artistic flare.
3 Dishes All Men Should Master?
First, be able to poach an egg. Second, you should know how to “hunt”, clean and cook – at the very least a fish. Third, if you have mastered the first two, I’d have to say, master whatever your significant other loves to eat.
Favorite meal growing up?
Dad’s BBQ salmon and catching and cooking Dungeness crab out at sea.
Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Cat. It was a teriyaki place that existed when I was younger and I found out later they were serving local cats. Needless to say, they’re closed now, but it wasn’t too bad as I remember.
Best tip for men cooking at home?
Don’t cook naked, just trust a chef on this one. Also, importantly buy good equipment – pots, pans, knives and kitchen tools. It makes such a world of difference when you have the right equipment.
One dish you make that makes any woman swoon?
My wild strawberry and homemade ricotta crepes, they work every time.
Kitchen tool you can’t live without?
My whistle. And my sous chef. Although she’s not technically a tool, she’s the most powerful weapon in my arsenal.
Your favorite curse word to use in the kitchen?
Bouger ton cul et se merde. It just sounds so powerful in an angry French chef voice.
Celebrity you would love to cook dinner for? What would you cook?
Kate Beckinsale, my crepes, of course.
Best midnight snack?
Eating anything around midnight, would be amazing. But, if the day ever comes, I’d say a ham sandwich, yeah that sounds nice.
Words by Jennifer Blossom
Photos by Steve Cowell