Spencer Johnston Named Exec Chef at The Wine Cask

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Photo: Wine Cask

Chef David Sundeen has departed Santa Barbara's Wine Cask, making way for Spencer Johnston to take the helm as the restaurant's new executive chef. This chef shuffle comes almost a year after The Wine Cask rose from the tatters left behind by Bernard Rosenson, owner of LBC's Sky Room. A native of SLO, who commanded attention as exec chef at San Diego's The Pearl following stints at the city's Stingaree and Jsix, Johnston is a market-driven chef who extols the cuisine, terroir, and bounty of the Central Coast. So what's he bringing to the table here?

A press release informs us that chef Johnston is already adding new dishes to the menu, including a salad of baby carrots and heirloom beets, goat cheese-stuffed tempura squash blossoms, a mac and cheese with rock shrimp, white cheddar, and pasilla, and oven-roasted white fish with chorizo and Manila clams. And what would any revitalized menu be without flatbreads these days? Johnston has a cheeky list of these trendy carb-caravans, with names like "Thai One On" featuring rock shrimp and coconut and "Nectar of the Gods," with nectarine and St. Andres triple cream. Sounds like Johnston is already enjoying his romp through the region's gardens and is inspired by being back on the Central Coast.

The Wine Cask, 813 Anacapa St. Santa Barbara. 805-966-9463.

Earlier: Legendary Wine Cask to be Reanimated in Santa Barbara [Grub Street]
Santa Barbara's Wine Cask ReOpens To (Mostly) Original Form [Grub Street]