Sometimes you have to change direction to get back to basics. This is the case with chef Chris Watts, who recently moved from Carmel Valley Ranch to Salt Wood Kitchen in Marina. The restaurant’s newest executive chef was Paul Corsentino.
After just two weeks in his new role, the fast-talking Watts is only positive about the opportunity, his team and the way forward. After running the Carmel Valley Ranch restaurants solo since Chef Tim Wood (now from Woody’s at the airport) was kicked out of the nest a year ago, he’s up for something new. “They’re just going in a different direction,” Watts says, of the Hyatt management of the ranch.
At Salt Wood, he says, he has both the ability and the mandate to “serve the best food.” Since its inception (by Chef David Baron, also someone Watts is used to working with) in 2017, Salt Wood has focused on sourcing locally. It took a bit of trouble during the pandemic, but Watts is working to restore it. It also plans to reopen for brunch and lunch – the restaurant is currently reserved for dinner. “We just want to upgrade it,” says Watts.
“I want to be more than a little restaurant in Marina,” he adds. “This is the ultimate goal.”