When I hear from Nino Camilo it’s usually to inform me of an upcoming event that involves the top culinary talent in North County getting together for a good cause. Such is the case with the North Eats Hurricane Relief event coming this Sunday, Oct. 29, at one of my favorite new restaurants, Open House in Encinitas. We caught up recently and he gave me all the details on this very worthy event and what’s new in his culinary and music worlds.
Lick the Plate: It’s always great to reconnect with you Nino; you always have cool culinary stuff going on. Tell me about this latest venture, how it came to be and who benefits from it.
Nino Camilo: I’ve been working with Baker & Olive on North Eats for that last four years and we’ve always put on a springtime event. This year we wanted to do something in the fall. As I started planning the event, the hurricanes started to hit Texas first and then Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. My friend Becky Mendoza lives here, but is from Miami. Things were hitting real close to home for her and she expressed to me that she was going to find ways to help out through her nonprofit changingtidesfoundation.org.
I told her that we would like to help in their efforts, so a portion of our tickets sales are going to her foundation. The Puerto Rican/Caribbean community here is super small, and we can only raise so much money with one event. My hope is that by doing this event, we will bring all the right people together to potentially do something bigger. This event should just be the beginning of our efforts, not the end. So if you know people who have family there, or if you’ve ever vacationed or been on a surf trip to these parts, please come and join us. Let’s surround the few who are directly affected by this disaster and show them they are not alone.
LTP: You are hosting it at one of my favorite new restaurants Open House, how did that location happen?
NC: Wade and Kristi Hageman invited me to do events there as soon as they opened their new doors. They basically said, “It’s called Open House for a reason!” This restaurant is unique because they have a lot more space than most. The Hagemans also carry the same heart for North County food as I do. They are not only proud of the progression of North County food, but they are also some of the pioneers who helped put Encinitas on the map with Blue Ribbon Pizzeria and Craftsman Tavern. The fact that they want nothing more than for the community to come together speaks volumes to me. This is why I created North Eats, so it was an easy fit.
LTP: As with your North Eats event, you always draw some top-notch culinary talent. Who do you have participating at this one?
NC: I’m really excited about this! Open House Asian Kitchen, Fish 101, Wrench & Rodent, Baker & Olive, Searsucker Del Mar, Mara Bleu, Eel River Organic Beef, Pillbox Tavern, Panca Peruvian, Priority Public House, Moto Deli, Craftsman Tavern, Gordy’s, Roosevelt Pizza and Arterra Del Mar are all North County-based restaurants and food brands who are giving their time and resources to the cause!
LTP: What can guests expect as far as drinks and edibles?
NC: The ticket price of $65 gets you a craft cocktail (or choice of beer or wine) to start, and then you get to eat what every single one of these chefs is making. We will have about 12 tasting stations and each chef is going to create something specific for the event. It’s an amazing preview of what North County’s food scene has to offer!
LTP: What else is new Nino? How are your Poke events coming along and are any of those coming up?
NC: I Love Poke San Diego is going great. We are just now trying to narrow down the date for May 2018, so I’ll keep you posted. I’m also thinking about doing a second poke event thanks to Chef Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent. He mentioned to me that doing a poke competition that involves everything but tuna would be super fun.
LTP: What culinary clients are you working with these days?
NC: I’ve been working with King’s Hawaiian Bread for six years now. I just wrapped up a project with them where I created Halloween-themed recipes. You can check that out at hallowaiian.com. I’m also working with Chef Marlaw of Open House Asian Kitchen to develop some rad Filipino food dinners for Encinitas. Food and culture, it’s what I’m all about.
LTP: As you are well aware from multiple appearances on Lick the Plate radio, there is a musical element to what I do and you always turn me on to new artists. Who are you listening to these days?
NC: Well, if you have kids, you know that the radio is controlled by the little guys. So we listen to what my 5-year-old stepson, Fuller, is feeling at the time. His Spotify playlist includes the whole Leon Bridges album (for the past year), “Your House” by Steel Pulse and some Hawaiian reggae like Swells and J Boog. Other than that it’s talk radio ‘cause that’s what grown folks listen to.
Tickets are available at www.onoyum.com or on the day of the event at Open House, from 4 to 7 p.m., Oct. 29 at345 S. Coast Hwy 101, Suite B in Encinitas.
Lick the Plate has interviewed over 700 chefs, restaurateurs, growers, brewers and culinary personalities over the past 10 years as a column in The Coast News and in Edible San Diego. He can be heard on KSON, FM94/9 and Sunny98.1. More at www.lick-the-plate.com