I got to know, now Chef Adam Horton back in 2004 when I went to work on the line at the Saddle Peak Lodge. He started there a few months before I did working for Chef Warren Schwartz who is now at the Westside Tavern. Working under Warren, as he liked to be called, Adam learned a lot. He watched as Warren would bring cooks up in the kitchen and then help them find jobs elsewhere to learn new techniques. Adam is a very personable guy and we found that we both had a passion for all things culinary. He and I both graduated in 2004 from the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena.
Adam feels that his real education came from the kitchens that he has worked in and I would agree. Although we worked different stations in the kitchen and he was always there to give me a hand if I needed it and I returned the favor whenever possible. The environment in the kitchen was like a family. The standards were always high and speed was something that just came from learning and repetitive motion day in and day out.
I remember many times where Adam and I would find ourselves out in the parking lot after service, talking about food and cooking until way after everyone had already left. The passion was there waiting to be given the opportunity.
As a young chef he was eager to go off and experience new kitchens and ways of doing things. He came to a point where he felt he wasn’t learning what he wanted to in the kitchen so it was time for him to move on.
I remember when he told me that he was planning his trip to Europe and lining up restaurants to try out in France and London.
He looked into Michelin 2 & 3 star restaurants in Europe to stretch the boundaries of what he knew. I was envious of his plan to go and explore the culinary world, pushing himself and his talents to see what was in store for him. He had nothing tying him down. His drive to experience what the world has to offer is something that he and I both share.
So off he went to Europe cooking in some of the finest restaurants there, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road in London,
then moving on to France to Le Moulin de Mougins, La Palme d’Or, Taillevent and Troisgros. What an experience he had. The work ethic was far different to what we have here in the US. Longer hours, a bit
slower pace in the kitchen with an emphasis on quality and perfection rather than speed and turning tables. It was great to hear some of his stories of working at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and in France. He had clearly learned a lot and came back a changed person.
After he got back he spent several months working at Mélisse in Santa Monica before returning in 2006 to the Saddle Peak Lodge. His passion ingredients and his learning abroad and in LA had transformed him into a fine chef. Shortly after his return he was made Sous Chef working for Chef Steve Rojas. Adam says that working with very talented and passionate chefs gave him an understanding of what it took to be working in a world-class restaurant. In 2008, at the young age of 25 he was made chef at Saddle Peak Lodge. His passion for fish and game and his willingness to explore many sides of cooking make him a perfect fit for the Saddle Peak. Local, seasonal ingredients are what get him excited. For Adam it is about the quality of what he is putting on the plate. He takes pride in finding sources for the best local and artisanal product he can get. He is always trying new things and puts together, in my opinion, some of the finest food that I have eaten.
It is always a pleasure to work with him and a joy to eat his food.