Great culinary minds converged again on Monday, March 31st for the second-of-its-kind collaborative OC Chefs’ Dinner – this time in the kitchen of the Little Sparrow Cafe in Downtown Santa Ana. The participating chefs for this round were Chef Eric Samaniego & Pastry Chef Nasera Munshi of Little Sparrow, Chef Jaime Carrano of Seal Beach’s 320 Main, and Chef Amar Santana of Laguna Beach’s Broadway by Amar Santana. Also taking part were the three phenomenal mixologists from each restaurant – Caitlin Pfeiffer of Little Sparrow, Jason Schiffer of 320 Main, and Gabby Dion of Broadway by Amar Santana. A dream-team of experts who executed a perfectly-timed, perfectly-paired five-course meal (see bottom of blog post for a detailed menu description).

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The five courses that unfolded were nothing short of sensational – each chef showcasing a specialty, from ricotta mousse, to Columbia River Sturgeon, to lobster-stuffed pork tenderloin, to rhubarab soup – these OC Chefs keep stepping-up their game and are showing the food world that the Orange County culinary scene is one to be reckoned with.

Rumor has it that there will be a third installment in the OC Chefs’ Dinner series – next time at Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach. Stay tuned to the Broadway by Amar Santana & Anne Watson Photography Facebook Pages for more details on date, time & participating chefs when they become available! And meantime, feast your eyes below on a story-told-through-photographs from March 31st’s event:

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1st Course: Ricotta Mousse, kaffir lime, geoduck clam by Chef Eric Samaniego of Little Sparrow; paired with cocktail, “At the Forefront,” Ford’s gin, lemon, cream, creme de pamplemousse rose by Caitlin Pfeiffer of Little Sparrow

2nd Course: Columbia River Sturgeon, spring vegetable a la grecque, caviar cream, egg yolk emulsion by Chef Jaime Carrano of 320 Main; paired with cocktail, “Thelonious Monk,” Saint-Hilaire sparkling wine, Mina Real Mezcal, green Chartreuse, Dolin dry vermouth, bergamont oil, arugula blossoms by Jason Schiffer of 320 Main

3rd Course: Lobster Stuffed Pork Tenderloing, kale, pork cheek, caramelized honey, ham hock vinaigrette by Chef Amar of Broadway by Amar Santana; paired with cocktail, “Czexas BBQ,” Balcones Brimstone Smoked Whiskey, Ancho Reyes, Becherovka, orange oil by Gabby Dion of Broadway by Amar Santana

4th Course: St. Pat whole milk organic Stinging Nettle Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery paired with Virginia Marie Lambrix Gewürztraminer, Russian River Valley, CA, 2011

5th Course: Rhubarb Soup, pistachio almond sponge cake, strawberry rhubarb salad by Pastry Chef Nasera Munshi of Little Sparrow; paired with Lambrusco dell’Emilia, Emilia Romagna, Italy, 2011