Chef’s Corner with Chef Krisztian Karkus of First Cabin Restaurant Balboa Bay Club & Resort

Photo By Andrea Cannistraci experienced the award-winning dining and inspired cuisine at The Balboa Bay Club & Resort First Cabin Restaurant. The restaurant is very proud to recently been voted by Open Table diners in Orange County as “#1 in service.” Also the restaurant has over 40 wines by the glass, and has received the “Best Of” Award by Wine Spectator for their exceptional wine list—over 600 labels!

We sat down and chatted with Chef Krisztian Karkus, while enjoying a dinner tasting of Hungarian Paprika Goulash, Sauteed Spice-wrapped Atlantic Salmon, bacon wrapped mangoes, and a tower of jumbo lump crab meat on mango carpaccio with avocado and micro greens. Chef gave us some inside scoop on Hungarian food and had some very interesting stories to share!

If you weren’t a Chef what would you be?

I’d be a painter. The arts teach a sense of a beauty and I like that.

What’s in your fridge at home?

I love to cook. In fact, I cook 3-4 nights a week. I keep fresh veggies, and strawberries in my fridge. I also have white wine, champagne, and “I Can’t Believe its Not Butter.”

What’s your favorite restaurant in Newport Beach for a night out on the town?

Marche Modern

It’s your Last Supper. Who’s cooking it? And what is on the menu?

I’d have my friends and family cook it. It would be Hungarian-style….potatoes with lots of butter, fresh bread with cold cuts, cheeses, pickles….and mango sticky rice.

What’s the most memorable meal you’ve prepared?

When I was just starting out in my career, I was working at a hotel restaurant in Budapest that the members of Queen were staying. I cooked dinner many nights for Freddie Mercury and the guys. I was a huge fan and one night I brought in a stack of albums, and they signed every single one. That was memorable!

What’s the most unique thing you’ve tasted?

While I was working in Japan for six years, I was once taken out to a very up-scale Chinese restaurant with a few dignitaries one night. The Chef brought out a large tub of oil, and continued to hold a live fish, by the head that was wrapped in a towel while he cooked the rest of the fish in the tub of hot oil. We then all ate the flesh of the fish while the head remained uncooked….the fish still breathing and eyes moving. In Japan quality=freshness. That is about as fresh (high quality) as you can get!

Tell me a little about your upcoming Wine Festival.
The 8th Annual Newport Beach Wine Festival
is coming up May 27-29. The weekend will include 8 events — including a winemaker luncheon, evening events, seminars, brunch, afternoon barbeque, and of course The Grand Tasting held on Saturday night. Master Sommeliers, Ron Mumford and Ira Harmon, will be with us throughout the weekend to share their knowledge of wines and wine pairings. For more details on this event, you can visit our website at: .

I’ve heard great things about your Summer BBQ. When are they starting?

On June 19th (Father’s Day) we’ll begin our annual summer Sunday Evening Dinner BBQ’s on the outdoor terrace of Duke’s Place overlooking the bay. Guests will find a perfect way to wind down the weekend, with a delicious dining experience that begins at 5:00PM to 9:00PM. (Last seating will be at 8:00PM.) In addition to the fantastic view, and delicious cuisine, a festive atmosphere is created by live music and the island sounds of Coconut Frank, performing live Steel Drum Calypso and Reggae music.

Sounds like you have a busy and exciting summer planned! Are there any additional events for guests visiting this summer?

Every Friday and Saturday evenings we have live piano music in dining room from 6:30-9:30. We also have in Duke’s Place Lounge–nightly music and dancing—every night of the week –it’s a great spot after dinner.

For more information on the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, please visit: .


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