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California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey

The Top Chef alum loves riding his bike to work, taking road trips, and vacationing at Lake Tahoe

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Brian Huskey first came to national attention in 2013 when he competed on season 11 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, set in New Orleans. The Pasadena native showcased his signature fusion cuisine, impressed the judges on multiple occasions, and advanced all the way to the final five.

These days Huskey is serving up “quick, simple, and unique flavors that appeal to the masses” at Tackle Box, a local grub shack located on the beach in Corona del Mar. It’s the kind of place where you can order the Avocado Tartine for breakfast, shift over to the Salmon Poke for lunch, and then try out the Falafel Roll for dinner. Orange Coast magazine called it one of the Best New Restaurants of 2016, noting that “noshing with bare, sandy feet never tasted so good.”

Where do you live? I currently live in Corona del Mar. I grew up in Pasadena and my parents still have a house there. Also, I went to UCLA and then culinary school in San Francisco—a lot of my fond childhood and adult memories are here in California.   

Why there? It is a blessing to live a five-minute scooter ride from my restaurant, Tackle Box. Have you ever been to CDM? You’d want to live here too!

Who or what is your greatest California love? California coastline paired with our SoCal weather. Negative ions and vitamin D—best combo, ever.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? The notion that everyone is “Hollywood.”

What is the stereotype that most holds true? SoCal drivers drive horribly in the rain. Southern Californians and rain are like cats and rain; they don't mix well. As soon as it starts to sprinkle, the whole city shuts down.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? My favorite Golden State splurge is a weekend eating, wine tasting, and hot air balloon riding.

Time for a road trip—where are you going? When I was growing up, every year my parents would take my brothers and me to Lake Tahoe. Whether you are skiing in the winter, boating on the lake in the summer, or hiking the beautiful trails, Tahoe is always an epic rejuvenating experience. Haven’t been in a few years…time for a road trip to Tahoe.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Taco Day. You can find so many different regional styles and flavors here. California has the best tacos outside of Mexico. I love tacos for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.

Best California song? “California Love” by Tupac. This was my anthem in high school and college. And of course the Beach Boys’ “California Girls.” And [the Mamas and the Papas’] “California Dreamin’”—I remember my dad would play them while taking me to school.

How would your California dream day unfold? I’d wake up and take my daily sunrise walk around Corona del Mar by Big and Little Corona State Beach with my girlfriend. Then we’d head up to L.A. for some dim sum breakfast. After filling up on dim sum, I’d drive out to Santa Monica to take a chartered flight to Monterey, where we would enjoy a seafood lunch and take in the Central Coast. From there in our rented car we would continue up the Pacific Coast Highway, making necessary scenic stops until reaching our final destination, San Francisco. To complete the day, we would have dinner at Saison and crash at the St. Regis.  

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