Many months ago, we profiled Chef Joel Harrington, the farm-to-table innovator who helped launch Lido Bottle Works at Lido Marina Village as a fresh, sustainable option in the chic development catering to the bon vivant lifestyle. Now, Harrington is out and former Executive Sous Chef Amy Lebrun has taken over as Executive Chef.
A lengthy Instagram caption by the Lido Bottle Works account explained, “She’s been with the restaurant as Executive Sous Chef since we opened, and with Chef Joel leaving to a new job out of state, the opportunity existed to promote from within.”
Lebrun was born and raised in Huntington Beach and worked in coastal California establishments throughout her career. “Her cooking style [is] defined by the access to fresh agriculture,” read the statement. “She’s been passionate about cooking since receiving her first Easy Bake Oven at age 4.”
“I baked my dad some cookies that were hard as rocks. He took a bite and, bless his heart, didn’t break a tooth. When I saw his positive reaction to my cookies it made me happy and determined to continue cooking,” Lebrun said via Instagram.
Lebrun studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and early on, developed a penchant for a Julia Child-esque way of cooking. “In my early 20’s I was heavily influenced by Julia Child—more like an obsession, really. Soon after, Suzanne Goin inspired me to use the freshest and most seasonal ingredients,” she said.
Her resume includes stints at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, The Resort at Pelican Hill, 24-Carrots and Wyndham Avenue of the Arts.
The move to replace Harrington with an experienced internal staffer is a smart one, especially when considering Lido Bottle Works stakes its claim on the signature whimsical style he first imbued. (Pop rocks and tuna tartare anyone?) It’s also a way to ensure that the continuity of a locally sourced menu stays in tact.
Most fish plates at Lido Bottle Works are proudly procured from Dory Fleet. Harrington would wake early each morning, ride his bike to the small fisherman’s hut on the beach, and purchase whatever was just caught that day. Vegetables were sourced from nearby gardens and some even plucked from the produce lining the chicly decorated, 1,235-square-foot space.
As was Harrington’s staple, the menu at Lido Bottle Works will continue to evolve through the seasons, the statement said, perhaps a hint that some of Harrington’s creations may soon be available no more. Still, it seems Lido Bottle Works will continue its admirable reputation for reaping what our Newport Beach land grows.
“I’m grateful for the resources we have in our backyard including the local fish from the Dory fleet, two local gardens that we have access to, and resources such as The Ecology Center that promote local purveyors and sustainable sourcing,” Lebrun said in the Instagram caption. “As a chef it’s a blessing to have access to ingredients with a high level of quality and integrity, many of which come from local small businesses.”