Executive chef Ingrid Shelton has found her niche at Cusp Dining and Drinks, offering diners supercharged flavors in her seasonally changing menu where entree-sized portions are called to be shared.
Confident and intuitive while helming the kitchen, Shelton is contented with the restaurant’s beautiful décor, that’s not overly designed. “This enables our guests to relax in an environment that is both upscale and comfortable,” she says. “The 11th floor view of the ocean is unforgettable, especially at sunset.”
Shelton’s primary focus is on bringing out the true flavors of each dish. “My menu features locally sourced, seasonal ingredients presented in inventive entrees,” she says. “I love to create new dishes and enjoy seeing the positive impact that it has on my guests. I also like to pass on the knowledge that I’ve gained to my cooks, and watch them grow.”
Shelton has cooked since childhood, where she learned from her family, who ran a small restaurant. When cooking at home, she loves to introduce her family to the traditional dishes from El Salvador. Her professional training started at the The Beverly Hills Hotel under mentors Chef Alex Chen and Chef Dan Olson, as well as Chef Lila Kulikowski of the Grand Del Mar. “Chef Chen taught me the importance of attention to detail, and to strive to make the finest dishes in a consistent manner,” she says.
Shelton supports the Slow Food Movement and believes in using organic and sustainable ingredients as often as possible, sourcing meat and seafood from Catalina Offshore Products, El Campito Farm, and Specialty Produce.
While our favorite standouts from the menu are featured in this post, other popular items include a Pan Seared Jumbo Scallop Risotto that surprises guests with a smooth texture and unique curry coupled with grilled oyster mushrooms that lends a delicious smoky flavor. And, most people don’t know that Shelton serves a great Cioppino on Tuesdays. “It’s an unexpected dish that warms you up, so I made it a weekly special,” she says. “We serve our guests an amazing menu paired with great service and an unparalleled view in an unpretentious environment. It’s hard to find places that offer both a one-of-a-kind ambiance and really good food.”
From a young age, Shelton was taught that being a chef required long days and hard work. “I also learned it required a passion for food and those you prepare it for,” she says. “It’s a lesson that was engrained in me from the beginning at my mother’s restaurant. Creating food that makes guests happy is what keeps me going!”
©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana