The Newhall Refinery has found itself at the epicenter of a boutique business renaissance emerging in the downtown Newhall district. It also happens to be a culinary force to be reckoned with. With Executive Chef Will at the helm, some impressive work is being done in the kitchen. His sincerity towards putting his philosophies about food and cooking into practice is nothing short of visionary in a restaurant scene where he pushes limits of convention. The menu has been allowed to take its own living course—harnessing creativity out of necessity. At the core of the menu’s philosophy is perpetual change. This change, however, is not random, but actually carefully calculated and crafted. Our natural California environment and its seasons determine the fare being served at The Refinery.
It’s difficult to discern between all the ethically conscious branding and marketing in the food world these days, so Chef Will keeps it simple. Everything guests eat at The Refinery is sustainable. Period. He even has an app on his phone from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that tracks which varieties of fish are most ecologically fit to be served in restaurants. Furthermore, and perhaps most uniquely important, he is a chef that shows his face. If there is any confusion about his menu, he has been known to leave the kitchen to speak with a guest directly—helping them navigate the intricacies of the ever-evolving menu, and to perhaps introduce them to something new. Chef Will encourages us all to trust our local chefs: “If you’re cooking for yourself you have a much higher risk of failure than if you’re cooking for your community.”
When The Newhall Refinery was still under construction, Will found himself on the crew swinging a hammer—not a cleaver. Taking on whatever work he could find while planting new roots in town, this chef without a laboratory was at the right place at the right time. For a chef with a new family looking for a home, and a town hungry for what’s on the horizon, serendipity loves company at The Newhall Refinery. These days you can find Chef Will in his lab, immersed in a world of sharpened steel and flame—the syncopated crackling of oil and lipids reacting to each other. One of chef’s latest creations couldn’t be more appropriately symbolic—a nest. A plate is lightly dusted with Hawaiian volcanic salt, the body of the nest is composed of peach salsa and fried corn silk; a succulent quail is set atop and dressed with chipotle crema, sesame, and a single delicately placed green onion ribbon—earthy, savory, and sweet simultaneously. Be on the look-out for further refinement.