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Setting the Bar

Casey Hatfield-Chiotti | September 9, 2016 | Feature Features

San Diego's undisputed top table Addison celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, and the man at the helm reflects on tasting menus, avoiding trends and Michelin stars.
DECADE OF EXCELLENCE This month marks the 10th anniversary of William Bradley's Addison.

Chef William Bradley wasn’t originally planning to return to his hometown of San Diego in 2006. He was executive chef of the critically acclaimed Vu restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a James Beard Rising Star Chef Award nominee, but the position at a brand-new concept at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar was an opportunity he simply couldn’t refuse. “At the time, San Diego didn’t really have a fine dining establishment and what I wanted to do was come here and forge that path for a restaurant of this level,” says Bradley.

Ten years later, you might say the risk paid off. The French restaurant Addison, named after architect Addison Mizner, is still the first and only restaurant in San Diego to receive both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star ratings, which Bradley attributes to his ability to hire people who strive for greatness daily, and a choice to not follow trends. “From the cupcake movement to hamburgers to comfort food to now the taco craze, I’ve seen a lot of trends, and it’s something to talk about, but we’ve always stayed the path and dared to be different.”

To say thank you and celebrate the momentous occasion, this month Addison is holding an invite-only cocktail reception for loyal guests and serving a ten-course tasting menu that will feature a signature dish from each year, like poached crevettes with lemon-lime jam, dates and brown butter. “It’s based on the elements of taste,” says the chef. “It’s sweet and sour, and rich from the brown butter, but it has lightness from the crevettes.”

Innovative dishes like sake-cured kampachi, bouillabaisse with baby fennel, and piment d’Espelette and coffee-roasted canard have helped Bradley achieve such lofty heights as being designated a Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, a title held by chefs like friend Thomas Keller. Still, there’s one thing he’s hoping to achieve in the next ten years to come. “People wonder why we don’t have Michelin stars. They rate restaurants in San Francisco and wine country but not in Southern California,” says Bradley. “We’d love to see them do a full California guide because it would make California stronger as a culinary force.” Whether Michelin eventually decides to cover Southern California or not, we have a feeling Bradley’s star will continue to burn bright.

Tasting menus, Chinese food, local farms

Cupcakes, other food trends, wearing too many hats—I’m a chef, not a farmer, fisherman and forager


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