Former Zin Restaurant owners Jeff and Susan Mall are heading south of the border.
The couple will be taking over food and beverage operations at Rancho Pescadero in Baja, Mexico. The resort, located south of Todos Santos, includes the Garden Restaurant. The Malls have been involved in consulting with the resort since 2010, and will bring their dedicated farm-to-table philosophy to the property.
Don’t get your hankies out just yet, though. The couple will be splitting their time between Mexico and Sonoma County, with plans to return north during the hot summer months.
Both Jeff and Susan have always had a deep love for Mexico. Jeff grew up on a ranch in California’s Central Valley, enjoying good Mexican food almost from the day he was born. He began visiting Mexico in the early 1980s when his family would take annual vacations to the tip of Baja, staying in towns like Mulegé, La Paz, Loreto, and a much sleepier-than-it-is-now Cabo San Lucas.
Jeff earned his degree in Hospitality Management at the University of San Francisco and then went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Jeff moved back to Northern California and worked with a number of chefs and mentors including Jeremiah Tower, Bradley Ogden and Anne Gingrass.
Susan grew up in San Diego and her summers were spent in Ensenada, a seaport town about an hour south of the border. Her early culinary memories include warm bolillos, turkey tortas and carne asada in Tijuana. Classically trained, she worked at such culinary institutions as Zuni Café and Campton Place Hotel, both in San Francisco, and the Border Grill in Los Angeles. Susan has also taught classes, done restaurant consulting and run her own catering company.
Dinner will be served seven nights a week and Chefs Jeff and Susan Mall’s new menus will celebrate the bounty of Baja and traditional Mexican flavors, made light and bright with locally grown ingredients. Menu items will include Posole de Pescado y Mariscos, Crispy Sopes with Smoked Marlin Salpicon, and Local Goat Cheese and Mushroom Chile Rellenos with Salsa Colorado.
In addition, Jeff and Susan will offer cooking classes, local food tours, and plan to institute a robust guest chef program, hosting top international talent for culinary weekends and events several times a year.
Sonoma County’s loss is certainly Rancho Pescadero’s gain. We will miss the couple’s great enthusiasm for local products, incredible warmth and generosity, and rich culinary talents greatly. The good news is now BiteClub can go visit them in sunny Mexico.