Portola Culinary Team Spotlight: Chef Carl Ashurst
We are so fortunate here at the Portola Hotel & Spa to have a such a talented and experienced team of culinary professionals and recently had the opportunity to visit with our Executive Sous Chef, Carl Ashurst and learn a bit more about his background.
Carl is a veteran of the culinary industry with over 40+ years' experience. Having begun his career at the age of 15, right here in Monterey on Cannery Row, he quickly moved up the ranks. Later, Carl worked in fast food as a shift manager until the opening of the Doubletree Hotel (now the Portola Hotel & Spa). Carl started as a breakfast cook and worked his way up to head chef. His expertise was so impressive; that he was then appointed to a special Task Force. These selected few were tasked to help open Doubletree Hotels across the United States. Carl received The Golden Key at the Dallas, St. Louis, Tulsa, San Diego, and Santa Clara Doubletree Hotels. Here at the Portola, Carl has won awards as Employee of the Year and Manager of the Year – twice and has been asked to teach his own cooking techniques to culinary students at Monterey Peninsula College. He has even been featured in a local magazine.
Q&A with Chef Carl
Q: What is your favorite dish/recipe to make?
A: I like doing all kinds of BBQ! I also enjoy making shrimp scampi with cream and sherry.
Q. When did you realize that cooking was your passion?
A. I've always known, cooking was my passion, especially since I began at the age of 15!
Q. Where is your favorite place to travel to? Why?
A. I love visiting Galveston, Texas. We have a family reunion there with lots of family, BBQ and fish fries.
Q. What is the most challenging dish to make?
A. Honestly, nothing really challenges me, some dishes may take a little longer to prepare and put together, but that's part of the art of culinary.
Q. If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
A. My grandmother.
Q. What is the one thing (tool, spice, ingredient) you could not live without?
Carl's Famous Chicken and Waffles
Chef Carl in action!