Executive chef Bryan Brown dishes on what’s cooking at the resort’s newest
eatery, Bourbon Steak Orange County, A Michael Mina Restaurant,
and his love for the culinary arts.
BY ASHLEY PROBST
M: Speaking of food, what is
your favorite dish on the menu?
BB: I’d have to say it would
probably be the eye of the
rib-eye. It’s kind of an underap-
preciated cut: You get the ten-
derness of a filet, but the flavor
of a rib-eye.
Throughout his career, Bryan
Brown has helped open five
different eateries and helmed
the kitchens of Vintana Wine +
Dine in San Diego County and
Bottega Louie in Los Angeles.
Considering this impressive
résumé filled with fine dining
experience and his passion for
sizzling steaks, Brown seems
to be made-to-order for the
position of executive chef at
Bourbon Steak Orange County,
A Michael Mina Restaurant.
Here, Moments asks Brown
to discuss his work at Monarch
Beach Resort and how he
plans to bring Mina’s vision for
Bourbon Steak to fruition.
Moments: How did you
begin your career as a chef?
Bryan Brown: [My] culinary
background started before I was actu-
ally born. My grandparents opened
the first Italian restaurant in San
Diego back in the ’40s. … The sec-
ond I could see over a counter, I was
cooking, helping out in the kitchen
[and] rolling cannolis.
M: What drew you to this resort?
BB: I’ve always wanted to work for
Michael Mina … and kind of hit the
best of both worlds: a Mina restau-
rant and the Monarch [Beach Resort]
is just a gorgeous property, too.
M: How did you react when you
found out you got the job?
BB: I got the call while I was at
Bottega Louie. I … was trying to
M: The Orange County
Register voted Bourbon Steak
the best restuarant in OC just
two months after your opening.
What are your thoughts on that?
BB: Accolades are really nice
to get, but hanging on to the
prestige after that is always the
hard part. … You only stay No. 1
for so long, unless you continue
pushing, so we have to continue
to be better … every single day.
hide my excitement and go … on
with my day, but… was very stoked
when I got it.
M: Now that you’re here, what is
your favorite thing about the resort?
BB: The people … [are] my favor-
ite thing. … We really get the cream
of the crop.
M: How do you plan to manifest
Mina’s vision for Bourbon Steak?
BB: I think he’s already given me
the tools to be successful with a beau-
tiful property and … I have a pretty
good understanding of what his
vision is and where he wants to go,
and they’re really in line with what
I want to do, so we’re just going to
continue putting out really good food
and pushing the envelope.
M: Is there a direction you’d like to
take this restaurant in the long-run?
BB: We’re looking at booking
some more events outside, maybe
do a sunset package so we can take
advantage of the beautiful view and
stylize the menu around that.
M: What do you cook at home?
BB: Any chance that I have to
open the barbecue, … I love doing
salmon, I love doing steaks, I love
doing tri-tip; all the fun stuff.
M: And what do you enjoy doing
in your spare time?
BB: (Laughs) There is no spare
time; there’s no such thing when you
run a restaurant. [But] I hang out
with my kids as much as possible.