Anthony Endy becomes food director at Alisal Guest Ranch
As the new director of culinary operations for The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Solvang, Anthony Endy has an impressive resume.
Beginning with a stint at Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe while a senior at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, he went on to Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Foods, the Santa Maria Inn, Wine Cask restaurant in Los Olivos, Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt and Paul Martin’s American Grill brand.
What many will find most impressive, however, is that he beat the Food Network super chef, Bobby Flay, in a “Beat Bobby Flay” episode that was filmed in April 2019 in New York City but didn’t air until this past June.
“I had to keep it a secret until after it aired,” said Mr. Endy, who won the contest with his tri-tip sandwich with black pepper aioli and avocado salsa verde on a baguette grilled and dipped in garlic butter and served with a Mexican street corn salad.
“The tri-tip sandwich was an homage to the Central Coast, where I grew up,” Mr. Endy told the News-Press. “It was a great way to showcase Santa Maria-style cooking and my signature style. I grew up on Santa Maria-style cooking.”
The half-hour episode began with Mr. Endy and Chef Ian Rough from Ocean Prime and Cameron Mitchell Restaurants competing to make a dish with a secret ingredient chosen by Mr. Flay.
“The ingredient was walnuts, and I won with my walnut-crusted chicken and walnut pomegranate sauce,” said Mr. Endy, confessing that the first round was “very stressful until the adrenaline kicked in, but I felt more relaxed and confident about the tri tip sandwich.”
And what was his prize?
“Bragging rights,” he said with a laugh. “The experience was worth it, however. Bobby Flay had a lot of influence on me as a young chef and getting to cook alongside him was so fun.”
Food became an important part of life for Mr. Endy at a young age.
“My mother, Cecilia Endy, and grandmother, Toni Maturino, are great cooks,” he said. “I spent a lot of time with them in the kitchen and in the garden.
“Plus, I love to eat.”
The idea of having a career as a chef dawned on him while he was working at Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe.
“From there, I immersed myself in the industry, worked and read as much as I could, took restaurant tours, talked to chefs — I was always learning, always watching the horizon,” said Mr. Endy, who lives in Los Olivos with his wife Bethany and three young children — Henry, 9; Hallee, 6; and Howard, 5.
Creating from-scratch recipes and sourcing natural ingredients for eateries throughout California and the Southwest prepared him for his role at The Alisal, where he became the executive chef in 2017.
In his new role, he oversees operations in the ranch’s four restaurants where casual meals are served by the pool or on the golf course to fine dining in the Ranch Room along with special dinners and alfresco barbecues among Alisal’s rolling hills.
“Cooking with live fire is a special passion of mine,” said Mr. Endy, who also manages the biannual Barbecue Bootcamp and monthly California Ranch Cookouts.
The Barbecue Bootcamp is a jam-packed weekend consisting of hands-on workshops, panels, tastings and meals with guest chefs that have included Ben Ford, owner of Ford’s Filling Station restaurant; Valerie Gordon, a celebrated chocolatier; and Paula Disbrowe, a James Beard award-winning cookbook author.
Among the celebrity chefs who joined Mr. Endy for the Californian Ranch Cookouts have been David Lentz of the Hungry Cat restaurant in Los Angeles; Tiffany Thiessen, host of “Dinner at Tiffani’s” on the Food Network and author of the cookbook, “Pull Up a Chair”; Kristen Thibeault, co-founder and executive chef of the Nybll catering company; and Burt Bakman of Trudy’s Underground Barbecue in Los Angeles.
Mr. Endy is quick to point out that he considers himself a “leader, not a boss, who strives for greatness, leading by example and maintaining an atmosphere of constant learning in my kitchens.
“I value teamwork, communication and feedback. I’m always finding strengths in individuals and building opportunities for everyone. The better the team, the better the guest experience, so I’m constantly pushing us to the next level.”