Celebrity Crystal DeLongpré, known by locals as "Chef Pink," will head up the kitchen at Root 246 as Chef De Cuisine, according to the management team of the restaurant and banquet arm of its neighboring lodging property Hotel Corque.
DeLongpré is charged with breathing new life into the one-time popular downtown Solvang eatery by transforming the menus for its regular dining rooms, lounge and banquet services, and room service menus for Hotel Corque.
In addition to DeLongpré's arrival, Root 246, owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians -- and now in its tenth year of business -- has made other notable changes by modernizing its approach to food, according public relations spokesperson Anna Ferguson-Sparks. The restaurant has re-committed to a local and ethically-sourced set of menus that includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options; given the interiors a slight face-lift; and instituted an exciting craft cocktail program that complements the chef's culinary agenda.
"Chef Pink is here to elevate the entire Root 246 experience," Ferguson-Sparks said. "Root 246’s current autumnal menu bears some of her trademark dishes, featuring produce that is 99 percent local, humane/sustainable meats with beef from Temple Grandin-designed Creekstone Farms, and local seafood," Ferguson-Sparks explained.
DeLongpré insists that her food philosophy also applies here, by letting the ingredients drive her vibrant menus. At a time where the farm-to-table movement seems all a trend, the Chef emphasizes her personal commitment to honoring local and organic ingredients that coincide with the seasons.
“My role might be new, but my goal is the same: I still want to share with the surrounding community my personal mix of fine dining techniques using local ingredients. I’m continuing to utilize my years of training as a proper chef, combining that with my philosophy of hyper-local, organic, whole, sustainable food systems, and my dedication to a memorable food experience that’s accessible to everyone," she said.
In addition, the dining rooms, bar and lounge are in keeping with the sleek, higher-end ambiance that the restaurant was originally known for, according to DeLongpré, "but now with service to match."
She says she wants locals and visitors to see that Root is more than just a hotel restaurant, and to rediscover what was at one time, one of the finest dining establishments in the Santa Ynez Valley. As such they've adjusted their pricing to attract everyday diners and families, and expanded the menus to suit all dietary needs.
Ferguson-Sparks said that in early 2019, Root 246 will implement a new bar program created by DeLongpré's TV celebrity cohort and “Bar Rescue” colleague, Mia Mastroianni. Within the next month, the restaurant will also launch a Chef's Table private dinner option located inside her bustling kitchen, offering a special menu to diners curated by the Chef herself.
DeLongpré's celebrity is due to having been featured in Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue”, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and “Man vs. Child” on fyi,TM. She and her wife, Courtney Rae DeLongpré, have also appeared in the 2016 LOGO TV documentary film, “HUNGRY.”
But before all the notoriety, DeLongpré put in the work with a culinary career spanning two decades as a food and restaurant industry veteran, and working in kitchens in California from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and from New York to Paris.
While in New York, DeLongpré cooked with celebrated chef April Bloomfield at 'The Spotted Pig' and 'The Breslin' before allying with local eateries throughout Santa Barbara County. She served as executive chef for Epiphany Restaurant and Square One, and was the chef/owner of the Valley's Bacon & Brine. DeLongpré has cooked in private homes within Santa Barbara County and for Los Angeles-based celebrities.
Before resuming her kitchen duties, the chef offered, "I’m excited to be able to put my personal stamp on the dishes coming out of this kitchen. I’m keeping things grounded while adding playful and avant-garde touches. I live to feed people. All people.”
Root 246, located at 420 Alisal Road in Solvang, is family-friendly, and dog-friendly if seated on the restaurant’s outdoor patio which is furnished with heaters and a fireplace. For more information about Root 246, contact them directly at 805-686-8681 or visit them on Instagram at instagram.com/Root246.