Café Society: The Cave's chef Gary Daniel pays it forward, moves on - to Watermark
As the founding executive chef for The Cave inside the Ventura Wine Co., Gary Daniel hasn't just created chipotle shrimp and duck confit tacos to pair with vintages from the wine bar's self-service Enomatic machine. He also has been a mentor to dozens of young local chefs.
The group includes Ben Ostertag, a Camarillo boy who was born with cerebral palsy and later battled a brain tumor but still "helped" Daniel create dishes for a series of fundraisers for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties.
Also on the list is Adrien Nieto, the Ventura County resident who cooked his way to second place on the second season of the Gordon Ramsay show "MasterChef."
And then there is Sheme Santiago, who is stepping into Daniel's executive chef clogs after serving as his sous chef almost since The Cave opened in 2008, give or take the occasional trip to Guam.
Daniel, meanwhile, is taking over as executive chef at Watermark on Main in downtown Ventura, where Peter Edwards held sway before getting married and taking the executive chef gig at the private Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades.