Catal Restaurant Downtown Disney
1580 DISNEYLAND DR. ANAHEIM 92802
RESERVATIONS 714 774 4442
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|Chef's Special | Now through August 31, 2014|
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Executive Chef – Catal
A Southern California native and veteran of Patina Restaurant Group, Executive Chef Steven Mary brings classic technique, a penchant for innovation, and a culinary philosophy weighted in a profound respect for ingredients to Catal, part of the Patina Restaurant Group. "I like to find things that are nostalgic and familiar, then put a spin on them to create something refreshing and new." When it comes to plating, Mary eschews pretense, explaining, "I like things to have a natural feel. I want my presentations to be artistic, but never overly composed or contrived."
Friends and family were hardly surprised by his career choice, since Mary began cooking at age seven. "I naturally gravitated to it—I never really had a choice in the matter—and ended up in the kitchen or at the grill at every family function," he recalls. After working at Pasadena’s acclaimed Bistro 45 with Chef Damon Brady, Mary enrolled in the Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, graduating in 1999. To pay for his education, he worked at Abiento, a local Mediterranean restaurant, as well as cooked for banquets.
After graduation, Mary worked on the line at The Parkway Grill, turning out 300 covers nightly at the prominent restaurant once nicknamed "the Spago of Pasadena." In 2000, the chef joined the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, training at its al fresco Terrace restaurant before moving over to the hotel's renowned Dining Room. Under the watchful eye of Chef Craig Strong, Mary served as assistant chef and acting sous chef in a refined classic French environment that demanded superb ingredients and precise technique. "I feel like the better part of my education occurred at the Ritz-Carlton with Craig," Mary says.
In 2008, Mary joined the Patina Restaurant Group as sous chef at Pinto Bistro in Studio City. The following year, he participated in the reopening of the company's flagship restaurant, Patina, as a sous chef under Executive Chef Tony Esnault. After the opening, Mary spent eight months as a sous chef at Café Pinot under the direction of then Executive Chef Kevin Meehan. "My time at Café Pinot solidified my affinity for farm to table approach, bright and vibrant colorful plating, and a strong understanding of California culinary sensibility," states Mary. In 2010, Mary returned to Pinot Bistro in as executive chef, responsible for the restaurant's $1.5 million operating budget. "I still worked the line every day," notes Mary, who to this day believes in being a hands-on leader. In 2012, after the closing of Pinot Bistro, Mary became chef de cuisine at the restaurant group's Catal & Uva Bar in Downtown Disney, and quickly earned the title of executive chef.
Mary and wife, Gina, reside in the San Gabriel Valley with their young daughter, who is already developing an adventurous palate like her father’s. In addition to working out, Mary enjoys biking and hiking with the family, as well as keeping his farm-to-table sensibilities sharp at his own home garden.