After following friend and former La Valencia boss Daniel Barron to launch Blush Ice Bar downtown this past July, Stephen Gage will soon be taking the reins as Executive Chef at Underbelly in North Park. With his distinctive topknot hairstyle, the talented young chef has been touted as one to watch since working on Chef James Montejano’s winning team at the 2014 San Diego Wine and Food Festival's People's Choice Award.
The Ann Arbor Michigan native earned his Diplome de Culinare in World Cuisine at the San Diego Culinary Institute after moving here in 2009. A stint at the (now-defunct) Steakhouse at Azul in La Jolla followed, before joining the team at the La Valencia Hotel. Gage worked as Sous Chef for La Valencia and Café la Rue before becoming Chef de Cuisine, where his Instagram-worthy plates at the landmark La Jolla eatery garnered praise for their beautiful combination of colors, textures and perspectives.
Skilled in creating distinct flavor profiles and attractive presentations Gage will also bring his experience using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to the fore on Underbelly’s ramen and yakitori-focused menu. In a statement Gage said he was excited about the upcoming move and joining the innovative restaurant-come-social engineering collective.
"I have received nothing but tremendous support from the team and very much look forward to pushing the UnderBelly brand forward, and doing my part to make it something truly special," Gage concludes, "as a young chef this is an incredible opportunity for me and I look forward to my future at CH Projects."