So, at the age of 22, Accursio Lotà found himself living in Santa Barbara and cooking at the Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. He moved to San Diego in 2011 and went to work for Bernard Guillas and Ron Oliver at the Marine Room in La Jolla where as sous-chef he learned a lot about new ingredients and fusion cooking. Accursio was grateful for that education, but his heart was in Italian food. So in 2012, when Randy Smerik offered him the executive chef position at Solare Restaurant and Lounge in Point Loma, he jumped on it and now has pagina bianca— blank paper, as they say in Italy—to cook what he wants to cook.
"The cooking process can come from three different places," Accursio says. "One is the ingredient. Another is technique. The third is memory. Usually these three particular things fuse together, but the "spark" comes from one of the three."
Using a combination of local products and ingredients imported from Italy, the food from Accursio's kitchen at Solare blends the ideas and techniques of his home country with its centuries of tradition and San Diego's burgeoning farm-to-table scene.
Besides lunch, dinner and a popular happy hour, Solare presents monthly regional "feasts." Every month a particular Italian region, such as Emilia Romagna or Liguria, is chosen and up to 40 people dine family style on dishes from that region.
"People love these feasts, especially if they have been to Italy.
Imagine you are in Italy and go to eat with your family on Sunday," says Accursio. By bringing both tradition and a sense of adventure to the Solare kitchen, Accursio Lotà provides San Diego diners not only with delicious food, but with an Italian food education. For that, we say grazie mille!
Solare Ristorante and Lounge
2820 Roosevelt Rd #104, San Diego, CA 92106